Jan Davidsz de Heem
Still Life with Flowers in a Glass Bowl, after 1636
Oil on canvas 32 in. x 23 3/4 in. (81.28 cm x 60.33 cm)
Crocker Art Museum Purchase1971.1 Buy a print
Jan Davidsz. de Heem trained in his native city of Utrecht under the still-life painter Balthasar van der Ast. After attaining the status of independent master, he moved to Leiden in 1625, where he attained fame with his depictions of simple arrangements of objects, often including books and musical instruments. In this period, the dark tonality of Rembrandt, who was also active in Leiden, influenced him greatly.
After de Heem moved to the bustling merchant city of Antwerp in 1631, his paintings changed. The exotic riches of the port city inspired him to create the pronkstilleven, or sumptuous still life. These new paintings, while depicting precious objects and rare flowers, often included the theme of life’s transience. Here, full-blown flowers, withering leaves, snails and spoiling fruit emphasize the passage of time. De Heem had a large studio and trained many other artists, including the painter Abraham Mignon. Though he traveled in the northern Netherlands, and to Utrecht in 1649 and 1665–72, de Heem’s studio, and most of his activity, remained in Antwerp.