De Heem enjoyed a long and productive career working in various parts of the Dutch Republic (United Provinces), but he was mostly based in Antwerp and his native Utrecht. He is famous for his ability to paint different objects with breathtaking accuracy and naturalism. De Heem specialised in still life, often containing vanitas elements that remind the viewer of the brevity of life, such as skulls, books, instruments, and hourglasses. De Heem was influenced by contemporary artists such as David Bailly and Daniel Seghers, and is known to have collaborated with a number of other artists. His paintings vary from small domestic pictures to very large elaborate pieces, all rendered with the same minute detail and brilliant illusionism.