Beautiful Skull

This is my new favourite painting:


Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette‘, by Vincent van Gogh, was painted around 1885-86 in Antwerp. It is a stunning oil painting, with the wonderfully lit rolled cigarette casually held between the teeth, possibly highlighting his disdain for the conservative approaches at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, where he was based when he painted this picture. Just wonderful, a real mocking memento mori.

I am honestly surprised I have never come across it before, nor of  his other two study paintings of a human skull (here and here).  It is fair to say that I now bitterly regret not going back to view his works in Amsterdam recently, what a chance I missed!


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