Jan Brueghel I was a specialist in painting flowers. While he also painted landscapes and other motifs, in this type of still life he found one of his most important themes. He had a great ability to put these arrangements together, in addition to a meticulous craft, always based on working from reality.
On a table on which an orange blossom branch is seen on the left and some small flowers and a ladybug on the right, a blue and white porcelain vase with a long neck and round base is set, containing an arrangement of flowers. The vase pertains to the Wan-Li period, and known by the name kendi, with its round base decorated with borders that make up segments where a branch appears in one and a locust in the next; the neck features a bird standing on the ground. A colorful bouquet is formed by the flowers, with six tulips of different forms and colors that stand out, a branch of jonquils and three large roses, along with foliage made up of small pink and white buds, forget-me-nots and white jasmines along with the leaves of all these flowers, especially the roses. A small white butterfly has landed on the jonquils. The colorful flowers stand out against a dark background.
The artist defines the petals of every one of the flowers with careful brushstrokes, mixing a generous impasto of material with lighter, looser strokes of paint, or with the use of thin transparencies, layers of well-diluted paint superimposed upon one another that allow him to achieve translucent surfaces like those that exist in nature's reality, in the petals of some flowers or the leaves of certain plants. He is also concerned with representing the reflection of light, focused here on the Chinese vase, which has a large white area in the center of the base.


  • Title: Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase
  • Creator: Jan Brueghel I
  • Date Created: 1609
  • Physical Dimensions: 46 x 33.9 cm

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