“Still Life”

Minister, chaplain and essayist Lynn Casteel Harper’s article for the Paris Review compares the earliest known Dutch vanitas painting – Jacques de Gheyn’s Vanitas Still Life – with her own perspective on the condition of dementia:

Wisdom here comes lodged in apposition—pairs of apparent opposites, united by the word and: “a time to be born, and a time to die … a time to break down, and a time to build up … a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together.” These lines in Ecclesiastes encourage readers to imagine a world in which the poles of existence create vibrant tension, in which life and death, gathering and releasing, embracing and refraining, weeping and laughing, do not negate each other but instead balance and enrich. There is aggregation and integration—even with loss, even in death.

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