Then there is the musical instrument to the far right-a bit more frivolous an object, and a sword near the center-certainly not as common as a book. There is also a sort of musical instrument with the skull, which is the obvious focal point of the painting. The wooden flute is set near its mouth, almost to look as though the skull is playing it. In fact, perhaps the skull is smiling as it plays a whimsical tune.
Also interesting, however, is the light source, a small window, presumably near the ceiling. The light illuminates only the skull, and leaves the other images in relative darkness, as if to say that what is important in the picture is the reminder of death, rather than the other "Vanities of Human Life" that are portrayed.
Death, the artist seems to suggest is another of these vanities, however, as the skull plays upon its flute almost whimsically. Perhaps he is trying to tell us that death is the most beautiful vanity of all, as it removes us from the other banalities of existence.
In John Keats' poem, "When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be", we see the two most common themes of Keats' entire body of poetry-those of unrequited love, and fear of death-here together in one poem. He uses the sonnet form, with three quatrains and a rhyming couplet at the end. (This can also be seen as an octet and sestet). The natural divisions in the form of the poem organize his fears about love and death.
An interesting aspect of the poem is Keats' use of repetition, which instills a sense of urgency to the poem, and makes the audience understand that these things truly weigh upon the mind of the narrator. It is not an accident that the quatrains begin, respectively with "When I have fears", "When I behold", and "When I feel". Rather, Keats uses the element of repetition to enhance the meaning and urgency in his poem.
In the first quatrain, the narrator is discussing his fears that he will die, perhaps before he has written all of the verses that he wishes to write. He fears that his work will not fully ripen, and that he will expire "Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain," and that he will never be acknowledged for his work. The second quatrain discusses the narrator's fear of dying before he has truly experienced love: "When I beholdHuge cloudy symbols of a high romance, / And think that I may never live to trace their shadows". Finally, the sestet at the end, comprised of another quatrain, and a rhyming couplet, serves to summarize the greatest of his fears: "on the shore / Of the wide world I stand alone and think / Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink." He is afraid that his death will come before he has achieved those things-Love and Fame-that he feels he was meant to achieve.
The first performance of Petrushka was given in 1911 by Pierre Monteux. It is often considered the greatest among the Stravinsky Ballets on account of the vivid and colorful characterization. The ballet on the whole paints a strong musical picture, and draws the listener into the drama of the story that the ballet has to tell.
Petrushka is a story, much like Pinnocchio, of a puppet who is made only of straw and a bag of sawdust as his body, but comes to life, and learns to love. He is a not-quite real being, whose tragedy is his passion, which makes him yearn for human life. His movements are sometimes jerky and awkward, conveying