Allegory of Charles I of England and Henrietta of France in a Vanitas Still Life (after 1669). Carstian Luyckx (French, 1623-well after 1658). Oil on canvas. Birmingham Museum of Art.
The subject here refers to the troubled reign of Charles I (1625-1649) and eventual execution. His attempts to expand monarchical power led to two civil wars and a subsequent conviction for high treason. His widow, Henrietta Maria of France, returned to her homeland. Many of the elements in this painting are common to vanitas works and symbolize the fragility of life, such as the bubbles, skull, and just-snuffed candle.