Art Kaleidoscope

Between art and craft

Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem

Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Portrait of William III of England, aged 10, in a flower garland decorated with symbols of the House of Orange. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon

Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Portrait of William III of England, aged 10, in a flower garland decorated with symbols of the House of Orange. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon

Jan Davidszoon de Heem is a representative of Dutch and Flemish Baroque painting. Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem (b. 1606, Utrecht, d. 1684, Antwerpen) studied first under his father David de Heem the Elder (1570–1631), then under Balthasar van der Ast. De Heem was considered one of the greatest painters of his time. He was well paid and a portrait of Prince William III surrounded by a cartouche of flowers and fruit was sold for 2000 guilders, one of the highest prices ever paid for a painting during the Dutch Golden Age. His sons worked together with him in his workshop on the commissions for new paintings. He retouched their work and put his signature on the paintings.

Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Flowers in a Vase. This painting was bought by Russian Empress Catherine the Great in 1768. It is now held by the Hermitage Museum

Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Flowers in a Vase. This painting was bought by Russian Empress Catherine the Great in 1768. It is now held by the Hermitage Museum

Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Festoon with Flowers and Fruit. 1660s. Oil on panel, Staatliches Museum, Schwerin

Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Festoon with Flowers and Fruit. 1660s. Oil on panel, Staatliches Museum, Schwerin

Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Portrait of William III of England, aged 10, in a flower garland decorated with symbols of the House of Orange. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon. This painting was taken to France as war booty in 1795, where it remains to this day

Still Life with Fruit, Flowers, Glasses and Lobster. 1660s. Oil on canvas. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

Still Life with Fruit, Flowers, Glasses and Lobster. 1660s. Oil on canvas. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

De Heem was one of the greatest painters of still life in the Netherlands, combining a brilliance and harmony of color along with an accurate rendering of objects: various flowers, European and exotic fruits, butterflies and moths, snails and sea shells. His still lifes also included Vanitas still lifes, illustrations of a snake lying coiled under grass; a skull on plants in bloom. Gold and silver cups or tankards are suggestive of the vanity of earthly possessions. Salvation is seen allegorically as a chalice amid blossoms, and death as a crucifix in a wreath. Sometimes De Heem painted alone or with others, Madonnas or portraits in garlands of fruit or flowers.

Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Flower bouquet in a glass vase, crucifix and death's-head

Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Flower bouquet in a glass vase, crucifix and death’s-head

Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Large still life with bird's nest

Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Large still life with bird’s nest

Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Still Life with Fruit and Lobster. The Wallace Collection. London

Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Still Life with Fruit and Lobster. The Wallace Collection. London

Still life painting by Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem

Still life painting by Dutch artist Jan Davidszoon de Heem

Still life painting by Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem

Still life painting by Dutch artist Jan Davidszoon de Heem

Still life painting by Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem

Still life painting by Dutch artist Jan Davidszoon de Heem

Still life painting by Dutch artist Jan Davidszoon de Heem

Still life painting by Dutch artist Jan Davidszoon de Heem

Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Still-Life with Flowers in a Glass Vase and Fruit. c. 1665. Oil on panel, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem. Still-Life with Flowers in a Glass Vase and Fruit. c. 1665. Oil on panel, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem self-portrait

Dutch painter Jan Davidszoon de Heem, self-portrait

Still life painting by Jan Davidszoon de Heem’s son – Cornelis de Heem (b. 1631, Leiden, d. 1695, Antwerpen):

Cornelis de Heem. Festoon with Fruit and Flowers. 1650s. Oil on canvas, Private collection

Cornelis de Heem. Festoon with Fruit and Flowers. 1650s. Oil on canvas, Private collection

Cornelis de Heem. Still life with parrots, basket of fruits and flowers

Cornelis de Heem. Still life with parrots, basket of fruits and flowers

Cornelis de Heem. Still-Life with Flowers. c. 1660. Oil on canvas. Private collection

Cornelis de Heem. Still-Life with Flowers. c. 1660. Oil on canvas. Private collection

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