HEEM, Jan Davidsz. de
(b. 1606, Utrecht, d. 1684, Antwerpen)

Flower Still-life with Crucifix and Skull

Oil on canvas, 103 x 85 cm
Alte Pinakothek, Munich

Jan Davidsz de Heem, who was to win an international reputation as one of the greatest European still-life painters, also spent time in Leiden. The most interesting works he painted during his stay there from the mid-twenties to the early thirties are vanitas still-lifes, mainly comprising piles of old, well-used books that signal the vanity of the scholarly life.

De Heem worked in other styles. His youthful pictures of flowers, fruit, and shells are in the manner of Balthasar van der Ast, and he also painted simple, restrained still-lifes which show his mastery of the chiaroscuro and the subtle tonal treatment of Claesz and Heda.

This painting was painted and signed together with Nicolaes van Veerendael. Both painters worked in Utrecht and were specialized to flower still-life.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 2 minutes):
Franz Schubert: Blumenlied (Flower Song) D 431