Room 17 | ref: | viewed: 30NOV18
Rachel Ruysch (1664-1750) -
Flowers in a Vase (1685)
Ruysch’s compositions are characterised by strong curves, diagonal axes, and dramatic lighting: here, light falls on the flowers from bottom left to top right, leaving the closed peonies at the edge in shadow. Against the dark background, her sophisticated palette creates a flawless sense of depth and three-dimensionality.
Ruysch studied with the still life painter Willem van Aelst, but she developed the style of her teacher towards a more decorative manner and a lighter palette. The artist’s father – a celebrated anatomist, botanist, and collector – was head of Amsterdam's botanical garden, so she had a precise knowledge of flowers and insects, shown here by the caterpillars, the ant and the grasshopper in the foreground.