Steveston BC Art Gallery 
Richmond, British Columbia

Persistence of Memory, Love and Song - Vanitas Painting

‘Persistence of Memory, Love, and Song’ by Daniel Kansky

My father, John (Jack) Kansky served with the Royal Canadian Engineers Corps during World War II. He was part of the Allied Forces that helped liberate France, Belgium, and Holland. At the end of the war, just after the surrender of Germany, my father was stationed in Holland. During that time he wrote a song entitled "Lovely Little Lady", a verse which is the lament of a soldier serving far away from home and his love. This song is still remembered and sung to this day by a few war survivors living in Holland.

The Painting "Persistence of Memory, Love and Song" is a tribute to my father and to his service to his country. The Painting is done in the 15th Century Dutch Vanitas style and reflects some of the qualities of my fathers’s traits, aspirations, and accomplishments. My dad was a risk taker. He had a penchant for fine food, fine Scotch, and expensive clothes, plus some would say that he was no saint. But in contrast to this love of life, my dad also possessed an inordinate devotion to his family and duty as reflected in his five War Medals awarded of which only two are shown in the painting.

Transcience of Life - Dutch Style Painting 


This painting is done in the Dutch seventeenth-century style and contains references to the ephemeral nature of earthly existence. In this style, artists often depicted skulls, wilted flowers, hourglasses, leftover food, and snuffed candles to remind their public of the transience of life. Costly objects, like jewelry or pretty clothes, mirrors and books referred to as vanitas, were also popular features highlighting the temporary nature of beauty, wealth and wisdom. These vanitas (or vanities) symbols  were frequently depicted in Still Life Paintings as well as occasional scenes and portraits. My painting, Transience of Life, is intended to encourage viewers to do something useful with their lives and to place less value on worldly pleasures.