Art Monday: DNA-Candle Vanitas series




DNA-Candle Vanitas I, II and III
Each painting, oil on canvas; various years, see individual posts.
© Glendon Mellow



DNA-Candle Vanitas I appeared here. DNA-Candle Vanitas II appeared here. DNA-Candle Vanitas III appeared here.

Some details about this series:


Vanitas painting is an old tradition, especially popular in the Northern Renaissance. Usually, it is a still life, depicting perhaps a skull, a broken watch, a candle just snuffed out with the smoke trailing in the air, a book half-read, a tipped over water glass....Pieter Claesz, trained by Franz Hals, is one of my favourite masters of this art style.


The image is one of mortality, with a kind of knock-you-over-the-head symbolism. The message intended is a kind of carpe diem, or "seize the day".

After reading about how telomeres may play a part in the aging process, and that their ends snip off when they replicate, I started coming up with the DNA Candle image. I remember reading something in the 90's that suggested if one could extend telomeres, one may be able to stave off death. The candle melting and the telomere shortening just seemed a natural image. I used DNA as a wick since it is more readily recognisable by most people.

So the ultimate message of the DNA Candle Vanitas is one of seize the day, life is beautiful but finite. The candles are lit and glowing, a loving image and the wax has melted together in union.

Typically, I have created these as wedding gifts, and the DNA-Candle motif has
appeared in other paintings and drawings of mine.

You can find #III in my
first calendar collection, (June).  DNA-Candle Vanitas IV will soon be available as a print or greeting card in the Print Shop.

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Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
under
Creative Commons Licence.

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