About the Artist
Ambrosius Bosschaert (1573-1621), one of the pioneers of Dutch still-life painting, was born in Antwerp, the son of the artist Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder and his wife, Johanna. He presumably received his artistic training from his father. It is likely that he began his career depicting rare and exotic flowers and fruit in botanical gardens, and some of his drawings may have been made for the botanist Carolus Clusius. It is certain that Bosschaert used such drawings to compose his paintings, which often include identical flowers, sometimes rendered in reverse.
Following Antwerp’s reconquest by Spanish forces in 1585 and the subsequent expulsion of all non-Catholics, the Protestant Bosschaert family moved to Middelburg in about 1589. Middelburg was renowned for its botanical gardens, the most important of which was established in the 1590s by the great botanist Matthias Lobelius. After Lobelius left for England in 1602, his herb garden was transformed into a flower garden and was almost certainly filled with exotic species imported from the Balkan peninsula, the Near and Far East, and the New World. Collectors at this time particularly admired bulbous plants such as the Dutch iris, the narcissus, the scarlet lily, the fritillaria, and, above all, the tulip—all the flowers whose bright colors and dramatic forms frequently accent early seventeenth-century paintings.
In 1604 Bosschaert married Maria van der Ast, who came from a wealthy Middleburg family. Her younger brother, the painter Balthasar van der Ast (1593/1594–1657), lived with the couple and undoubtedly studied with his new brother-in-law. Bosschaert had an extremely successful career in Middelburg, both as a painter and as an art dealer. He was also an effective teacher, which ensured that his distinctive style of painting was carried on by his talented students.
Bosschaert died in The Hague on a trip to deliver a flower painting to a member of the court of Prince Maurits, for which he apparently was paid 1,000 guilders.
This print of Ambrosius Bosschaert's Bouquet of Flowers in a Glass Vase (1621) is part of our Masterworks collection of reproductions, specially created using the Gallery's finest quality digital imaging. The image was printed to Gallery specifications and the frame was selected for a style appropriate to the period.
Ambrosius Bosschaert was a pioneer in the history of Dutch still lifes and a painter of joyful flower bouquets. He had an unerring awareness of composition, and delighted in combining flowers with a wide variety of colors and shapes to create a pleasing and uplifting symmetrically. Here, two spectacular blossoms, a yellow iris and a red-and-white striped tulip, surmount a bouquet composed of numerous species, among them roses, a blue-and-white columbine, fritillaria, grape hyacinth, lily of the valley, and a sprig of rosemary. A dragonfly alighting on the iris and a butterfly on the cyclamen blossom that rests on the wooden tabletop further enliven the composition.
- 10 x 6.75 inches (print), 11 x 8 inches (framed)
- Printed on paper with spray-coat finish to give the effect of canvas
- Archival pigment inks
- Poly frame, gold
- Ready to hang