Still Life with Books, Jan Davidsz. de Heem, 1625 - 1630
Grey and brown tints dominate this composition, and a shadow spreads slowly over the wall. The painting alludes to the fleetingness of life. The battered books allude to transience. The music produced by the lute is momentary, a symbol of the brevity of life. A literal reference to death is inscribed on the sheet of paper draped over the table’s edge: ‘finis’ ([the] end).