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Pink-Mouth Murex (phyllonotus erythrostomus)

A work made of etching on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of etching on ivory laid paper.


c. 1646


Wenceslaus Hollar
Bohemian, 1607-1677

About this artwork

In the 17th century, seashells became popular collectible objects because they were considered rare and exotic. They also became common subjects for still-life paintings known as Vanitas, which symbolically represent the transience of life. The etchings of both Wenceslaus Hollar and Rembrandt van Rijn could represent the simultaneous beauty and fragility of existence. While still lifes in general are exceedingly rare in Rembrandt’s work, Hollar’s etching comes from a series of seashells, consisting of 38 plates. Rembrandt’s shell (1938.1805) could have been inspired by Hollar’s work, though Rembrandt’s decision to render the shell in a three-dimensional space represents a marked difference between the two etchings.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Wenceslaus Hollar


Pink-Mouth Murex (phyllonotus erythrostomus)


Bohemia (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Etching on ivory laid paper


Sheet, trimmed within platemark at right: 9.7 × 13.3 cm (3 7/8 × 5 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Celia and David Hilliard Endowment

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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