Courtney Kezlarian is a senior at Gallatin from the Detroit area. Her concentration is The Right to Art and Its History. Her specialization within art history is 17th-century Dutch still life and botanical treatises. In her studies, she hopes to find points of intersectional scholarship within academia as well as museum education. She has never sold a painting as she has a difficult time separating from her pieces. Most of her finished works hang in her mother’s living room.
“Portrait I” is not of a particular person. It is a study and practice of traditional portraiture, something I have considered in my art historical studies. The crown is encrusted with rubies and small diamonds. The earrings, slightly encrusted with blood, are pearls. She wears her hair in a chignon, though its disheveled nature suggests it was done many hours before. The collar of her gown is silk and threaded with gold. I think her name might be Allana, though I cannot be sure.
“Vanity I” is a close study of the vanitas tradition within Dutch still life. Vanitas was popular during the 17th century when the Dutch East India company began the massive importation of foreign goods into the Dutch Republic. Tulips, pepper, silver, and sumptuous fruits were featured often. The luxurious materiality of a highly religious culture, recently Protestant after separating from Spanish Catholic rule, was moralized in vanitas works. While decadence was rendered, so were objects that referred to the temporal nature of material life, such as skulls or an hourglass or a dying flower amongst a bouquet. These were meant to remind those who looked upon the paintings that they shall only have faith in God when their time is up.