oil on canvas. 41¾ x 31 1/8 in. 106 x 79 cm. Estimate $100,000 - $150,000
Provenance: Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 4 July 1997, lot 103.
Notes: Inverting the traditional symbolism of a vanitas, the Bergamesque artist Vincenzo Bonomini depicts the morbid reality of death with exuberant playfulness in this painting. A grinning head is attached to an animated skeletal corpus, shunning the customary representation of a decaying skull covered in cobwebs, while the skeleton, complete with his jauntily cocked knee, seems to be resting before continuing on its way. The hourglass, still quite full of sand, is carelessly held while the skeleton perches on slabs of marble, the principle components for a tomb.
Bonomini's paintings for Santa Grata inter Vites in Bergamo perfectly exemplify his treatment of 'living' skeletons. The six paintings of I Macabri, traditionally exhibited in the church only for All Souls Day, portray a veritable skeletal family, completely clothed and going about their daily b