(b. 1618, Haarlem, d. 1658, Amsterdam)
Dutch painter, the son of Pieter Pietersz Holsteyn I (ca. 1585-1661) and his first wife Maritge Cornelisdr (1592/93-1647). His father, who was originally from Schleswig, was employed by the city of Haarlem as a stained-glass painter from 1634 to 1658 and was also active as a tapestry designer and engraver. Cornelis's elder brother was Pieter Pietersz Holsteyn II (Haarlem ca. 1614 - Amsterdam 1673), a painter, engraver and stained-glass painter. Their father remarried on 17 November 1647; his wife was Jacobijn Thymansdr of Kuyndert, Overijssel. The Holsteyn family was Catholic.
Nothing is known about Cornelis's training as a painter or the year in which he joined the Guild of St Luke. On 7 July 1640, his father represented him in a lawsuit, claiming an outstanding fee of 100 guilders for a painting Cornelis had executed at the request of Adriaen Muyltjes, a painter and merchant about whom nothing further is known. Hence, we can infer that Cornelis had not yet established himself as an independent master, although at some point he did join the guild.
In about 1645, Cornelis was commissioned to paint a portrait of the family of the Amsterdam regent Reynier Pauw, with their country estate Westwijck in the Purmer polder in the background.
On 27 September 1647, the board of the men's almshouse in Haarlem paid 'Holsteyn's son' 200 guilders for an overmantel painting of The Labourers in the vineyard.
We know from a notarial document of 7 November 1647 that Cornelis and his brother Pieter were living in Amsterdam at the time. Their mother had died in July and they had already received their inheritance. On 30 January 1652, Cornelis became a burgher of Amsterdam.
On 10 January 1655, at which stage he was living on the Oude Schans, he married Machteltje Cornelisdr Holblock, the sister of the Amsterdam painter Jan Cornelisz Holblock (1612-1679). The couple lived next door to the Walloon Orphanage on the Lauriergracht, where they drew up their will on 28 May 1657.
Cornelis received several commissions for decorative paintings in Amsterdam. In 1654, he painted the ceiling of the Orphans' Chamber in the new Town Hall designed by Jacob van Campen. For the same room he executed an overmantel painting of King Lycurgus acknowledging his nephew as heir to the throne. In 1655-1656, he and the Haarlem ornament painter Mattheus van Pillecum (d. 1679, Amsterdam) painted the ceiling of the regents' chamber in the recently restored Municipal Orphanage. Cornelis painted grisaille ceiling pieces for the regents' chamber of the almshouse on the Oude Zijde, which was completed in 1655, as well as a Distribution of peat to the poor (ca. 1657), one of a series of three paintings. The other two were executed by Jan van Bronchorst and Jacob van Loo.
Cornelis Holsteyn spent the last period of his life on the Rozengracht. He was buried in the Nieuwe Kerk on 2 December 1658.