Vanitas paintings were still life paintings from the 16th and 17th Century. Each of the objects are symbolic, Symbols of death reminding us how short life is like the extinguished candle, the skull. Objects like the watch and the quill pen and the books remind us of mans ability to use his intelligence, That they are placed together to remind the viewer that despite our intelligence, despite our wealth we will all be levelled by death.
Pieter Claesz 1630
David Bailly (1584–1657) Self-portrait With Vanitas Symbols, dated 1651
Adriaen van Utrecht | Vanitas Still-Life with a Bouquet and a Skull