A Lesson to Learn

This small painting is all about beauty: a woman’s physical beauty, beautifully-decorated surroundings, and beautiful luxury items like lace, pearls, a jewelry box and a small book. Small-scale decorative works of art became popular during the Renaissance as furnishings for the well-to-do family home. They also served an instructive purpose. In this case, the image of the young woman and the luxury objects that surround her all work together to teach a moral lesson, reminding both family members and visitors of the ultimate useless value of earthly goods and youth in the face of inevitable death.