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9 Objects: A Vanitas
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I wanted this image to provide a sense of my professional and personal lives and I've used a pre-modern genre - the vanitas - to do this. The scarf of Roger II, Sicily's first king (1), was a gift from my husband, Joe Hayes, and our children, who are represented by the wedding bands and engagement ring (7). I've been thinking and teaching about Roger and his family for a while and the D&G scarf has become one of my favorite accessories. The medieval-inspired book that I bought on the Rialto Bridge (9) represents my research and writing, which years ago actually focused on France; my doctoral dissertation, which ultimately became my first book, was on the majestic Chartres Cathedral (5). My love of travel, particularly in the Mediterranean, is made present in the image by the beautiful Perusini earrings from Dubrovnik (4) and the Venetian mask (8) which, along with the hourglass, emphasize the transience of life that was a focus of the vanitas genre. St. Rosalia of Palermo (6) is the subject of my next major research project and patroness of a city to which I have family ties. Related to this connection are the Sicilian puppet (2) and the zany Nino Parrucca ceramic vase (3) I bought on the gorgeous island of Pantelleria. Both are included as objects that represent my love of Sicily - its history, its culture and its people. Having been raised in a Sicilian-American family and having been blessed with the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time the island, its identity is very much part of my own.

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