(b. ca. 1615, Delft, d. ca. 1656, Delft)

Vanitas Still-Life with Gorget and Cuirass

c. 1640
Graphite on vellum, 193 x 165 mm
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam

The vanitas still-life, very popular in seventeenth-century Holland, was the speciality in Delft of Pieter Steenwijck and his brother Harmen. The message of their pictures of skulls, timepieces, and just extinguished but still smoking candles is quite clear. All the evidence suggests that these artists made very few drawings. No works on paper by Harmen have come to light, and by Pieter there are only a very few. These include genre pieces and the Vanitas Still-Life with Gorget and Cuirass. This drawn still-life is distinguished from the artist's paintings by its vertical format and its subject matter.