Here we have a Frans Hals portrait of a handsome affluent man. He commissioned this excellent painting, and in his hand he holds a skull. That is - he holds what is left of some man's head. Why? As a reminder of death. As a reminder that you reading this are going to die. Christian men of that generation were apt to do that, not only monks, who are the specialists of christian extremism, but men of a more ordinary type. They did so because they believed it served a good purpose.
“As you are now so once were we.” James Joyce