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Flowers in a Vase

Rachel Ruyschca. 1690s

National Museum of Women in the Arts

National Museum of Women in the Arts

Rachel Ruysch’s labor-intensive painting technique yielded the luminous color, visual texture, and intricate detail popular with her patrons. But for all the scientific accuracy of individual flowers, Ruysch’s compositions are pure invention. She often intermingled plants that bloom in different seasons and included both domestic and foreign specimens.  

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  • Title: Flowers in a Vase
  • Creator: Rachel Ruysch
  • Date: ca. 1690s
  • artist profile: Rachel Ruysch was successful for nearly 70 years as a specialist in flower paintings. Ruysch’s maternal grandfather, Pieter Post, was an important architect,and her father, Frederik Ruysch, an eminent scientist. From him, she learned how to observe and record nature with great accuracy. At 15, she was apprenticed to the well-known Dutch flower painter Willem van Aelst. From that point on, she produced various kinds of still lifes, mainly flower pieces and woodland scenes. In 1701, Ruysch became a member of the painters’ guild in The Hague. At that time, she began producing large flower works for an international circle of patrons. Several years later, Ruysch was invited to Düsseldorf to serve as court painter to Johann Wilhelm, the Elector Palatine of Bavaria. She remained there from 1708 until the prince’s death in 1716. After returning to Holland, Ruysch kept painting fruit and flower pictures for a prominent clientele. She remained artistically active, proudly inscribing her age on a canvas she completed in 1747, at age 83. Despite the changes in popularity of flower paintings during the years since her death, Ruysch’s reputation has never waned.
  • Training: Private Lessons
  • Style: Baroque
  • Physical Dimensions: w15.75 x h18.75 in (Without frame)
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay; Photography by Lee Stalsworth
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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