Library Interior with Still Life
Jan van der Heyden (Dutch, 1637-1712)
On View

Near the end of his life, Jan van der Heyden depicted this subject three times with slight, but meaningful, variations. All of his libraries are similarly composed—furnished with a marble table, imported Chinese silk and Japanese ceramics, celestial and terrestrial globes, and, at center, an open atlas published by Jan Blaeu, one of the Dutch Republic’s leading globe and mapmakers. Unique to this version, a low-burning candle illuminates the sumptuous interior, inspiring deeper consideration of the relationship between the physical and metaphysical. Is the light a sign of an industrious reader who has foregone sleep? Is the flame a metaphor for enlightenment? Or is it a flickering memento mori soon to be extinguished?


  • Artist Name: Jan van der Heyden (Dutch, 1637-1712)
  • Title: Library Interior with Still Life
  • Date: 1711-12
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 27 x 22-1/2 in. (68.6 x 57.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1972.17.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

Possibly Huybert Ketelaar, Amsterdam (†sale, Amsterdam, Henrik de Winter & Jan Yver, 19 June 1776, no. 88.
[H.C. DuBois et al sale, Frederick Muller & Cie, Amsterdam, November 27-28, 1906, lot 283 as Anonymous Master to];
Cornelis Gerardus 't Hooft, Amsterdam (1866-1936) in 1911/12.
[Kunsthandel Goudstikker, Amsterdam, by 1922 - until 1927 (to, or in partnership with?);]
[Thomas Agnew & Sons, London, 1927 July 14, sold 10 October 1935 to;]
John Hugh Smith, London, (sale Christie's, London, 21 July 1944, lot 95, passed; J. Hugh Smith sale, 1 December 1944, lot 93, bought in, according to Christie’s clerk’s copy).
[?Thomas Agnew and Sons, Ltd., London].
Private collection, London, (sale Christie's, 29 November 1968, lot 73, to);
[Walter Feilchenfeldt, Zurich; sold 1972 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

Tentoonstelling Collectie Goudstikker

  • Rotterdam, Rotterdamsche Kunstkring, 1922 to
  • The Hague, Pulchri Studio, to
  • Martin, Wilhelm; and Ernst Wilhelm Moss, Oude Kunst in Nederlandsch Bezit,no. 12
  • Catalogue de la Collection Goudstikker d'Amsterdam,no. 46
  • Wagner, Helga, Jan van der Heyden,no. 218 pp. 114, 178
  • Bredius, Abraham, Oud Holland, p. 132
  • Catalogus der tentoonstelling,no. 150
  • Thornton, P., Seventeenth-Century Interior Decoration in England, France, and Holland,fig. 300, no. 99 pp. 306-311, 396, 414
  • 't Hooft, C. G., Amsterdamsche stadsgezichten van Jan van der Heyden, p. 12
  • Von Bode, Wilhelm, Rembrandt und seine Zeitgenossen, p. 281, 287
  • Gaskell, Ivan, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection: Seventeenth-Century Dutch and Flemish Painting,fig. 1 pp. 302-305
  • Bode, W. von, Meister der holländischen und flämischen malerschulen, p. 87
  • Dezsö, Rószaffy, Az Országos Magyar Szépmüvészeti Múseum Évkönyveì,fig. 2 pp. 166, 170
  • Amodeo, Tony, Mapline, A Quarterly Newsletter Published by the Hermon Dunlap Smith Center for the History of Cartography at the Newberry Library, p. 2
  • Hofstede de Groot, C., A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century,no. 332 p. 421
  • Smith, H. Clifford, Country Life,fig. 3 p. 285
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 82
  • Vorenkamp, Alphonsus Petrus Antonius, Bijdrage tot de geschiedenis van het hollandsche stilleven in de XVII eeuw, p. 110
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 800 p. 340
  • Sutton, Peter C., A Guide to Dutch Art in America, p. 219
  • Norton Simon Museum, Selected Paintings at the Norton Simon Museum,1980, p. 51
  • Bode, W. von, Meisterwerke der holländischen und flämischen Malerschulen, p. 369
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Townscape Jan van der Heyden c. 1670

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