Homo Bulla in art

The Homo Bulla theme in art has existed for centuries. On seventeenth-century vanitas paintings and engravings by Jan Steen, Barent Fabritius, and Hendrik Goltzius children blow soap bubbles or they fill pig’s bladders with air. You may think it seems innocent child amusement, the opposite is true. This is a warning about the fleeting nature of life. Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden owns a vanitas painting by David Bailly from 1651. Here, too, the soap bubbles point to the shortness of existence before they burst.

Vanitas painting by David Bailly from 1651. With soap bubbles and skull.
Collection Museum De Lakenhal

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