One way to tell you’re getting old is to see what happened to all the babes of the 1960s and 1970s. I was surprised to hear that Tawny Kitaen had passed away. Not that I was a big an of hers, but never was there such a moniker that screamed B-A-B-E in Neon All-Caps. She was one of a troupe that included actresses like Joey Heatherton and Ann-Margret and “celebrities” such as Prince Andrew’s main squeeze Koo Stark and Profumo Affair bad girls Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies.
I suppose it is inevitable if you live long enough. I still think of Sônia Braga, Jenny Agutter, Françoise Dorléac, Dominique Sanda, and Maria Schneider. They were beautiful, and they populated my dreams as a young man. Now that I am no longer a young man, I can see that all of us are on the same journey through life.
Jacob van Hulsdonck’s “Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Pomegranate”
I have always been partial to Flemish still lifes, ever since I first saw “Still LIfe with Oysters and Grapes” (1653) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. See below for an image of the still life.
With both of these paintings, and with many Dutch and Flemish still life paintings of the Seventeenth Century, there is a strong moral dimension. According to Wikipedia:
Virtually all still lifes had a moralistic message, usually concerning the brevity of life—this is known as the vanitas theme—implicit even in the absence of an obvious symbol like a skull, or less obvious one such as a half-peeled lemon (like life, sweet in appearance but bitter to taste). Flowers wilt and food decays, and silver is of no use to the soul.
You can see this with the fly on the leftmost lemon in the plate, as well as the aging film showing on the cut pieces of fruit.
Jan Davidszoon de Heem’s “Still Life with Oysters and Grapes”
I had always thought of still life paintings are relatively innocuous. And so they are, but they also remind one that time is passing, and the food and flowers on display are the things of a moment.
We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.—Alan Watts