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Entries in Jan van Huysum (1)


Rachel Ruysch: A Master of Floral Delicacy

Rachel Ruysch - Flowers, Fruit, and Insects - 1716 - Oil on canvas, 89 x 60 cm - Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence (click photo for larger image)Jan van Huysum - Fruit and Flowers - c. 1720 - Oil on panel, 81 x 60 cm - Wallace Collection, London. Notice the lighter background in this work. (click photo for larger image)Rachel Ruysch (1664-1750) was a Dutch still-life painter who, with Jan van Huysum (1642-1749), also featured here, was the most celebrated exponent of flower pieces of her period. The daughter of a botanist and the pupil of artist Willem van Aelst, she worked mainly in her native Amsterdam, but also in The Hague (1701-08) and Düsseldorf, where from 1708 to 1716 she was court painter to the Elector Palatine.

Her richly devised bouquets were painted in delicate colors with meticulous detail, and their artistry and craftsmanship are worthy of the finest tradition of Dutch flower painting. She continued to use the dark backgrounds characteristic of Van Aelst and the older generation long after Van Huysum and other contemporaries had gone over to light backgrounds.

Ruysch lived eighty-five years and her dated works establish that she painted from the time she was a young woman until she was an octogenarian. However, only about a hundred paintings by her are known. Possibly she worked slowly, however as the wife of a portraitist, Juriaen Pool (1666-1745), and the mother of ten children, she may also have had a limited amount of time for painting!