Death Portrait of Swaddled Twins
Oil on canvas, 71.6 w 52.5 cm, anonymous, c. 1617
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

This painting portrays the twin infants of Jacob Dircksz de Graeff and Aeltge Boelens, born on April 7, 1617, with the coat of arms at the top corners, suggesting they were likely both boys. Despite their alert appearance and the absence of typical symbols of death, the painting is interpreted as a memorial to the deceased infants, a practice seen in other portraits of deceased children from the time. Records confirm the twins' brief lives, with one dying 90 minutes after birth and the other soon after. Discrepancies in their skin tones hint at twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome as a possible cause of death, though it's also suggested that the artist may have used this contrast to distinguish between the twins.


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