Almost four hundred years after it was created, David Bailly’s Vanitas still life with a self-portrait of the young painter continues to fascinate art historians. The masterpiece raises all sorts of questions. Is it a self-portrait? To what do the various objects in the painting refer? And who is the mysterious female figure appearing against the back wall? Despite the fact that this work seems familiar to many people, the painter is barely known to the general public. In the exhibition David Bailly – Time, Death and Vanity, the museum brings attention to this unknown master painter.
In recent years, curators of Museum De Lakenhal have worked together with experts from Leiden University and the Rijksmuseum, among others. The research provided new information about Bailly’s work and life. New portraits and several discoveries have been made about hidden layers in paintings, including the Vanitas still life. Bailly’s oeuvre has also been surveyed for the first time. This exhibition brings together 90 works including portraits and vanitas representations by David Bailly, and work by contemporaries such as Dou, Lievens and Rembrandt.
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication written by Janneke van Asperen, Christiaan Vogelaar and Rudi Ekkart. It features results of the research and includes contributions by
Marika Keblusek, Karin Leonhard, Erma Hermens, Nathan Daly, Carla van de Puttelaar and Fred Meijer. The book is published by Waanders in both Dutch and English editions.
Related CODART publications
Maartje Beekman and Rosalie van Gulick, “Handing Over the Keys: Succession in Museum Curatorship – An interview with Christiaan Vogelaar and Janneke van Asperen”, CODARTfeatures, December 2022.