Still Life with Flowers in a Glass Vase by Rachel Ruysch

Rachel Ruysch was the daughter of Frederik Ruysch, a professor of botany. Her artistic talent was recognized early on and she became a renowned painter of floral still lifes. Even though she bore 10 children, she nevertheless managed to pursue a professional career as an artist. Her pictures were admired at the courts in The Hague and Germany, and she was appointed court painter to the Elector Palatine. (

Drawing on her studies of her father's collections, she created exquisitely detailed portraits of rare blossoms in an asymmetrical composition that is further emphasized by vastly curving stems and dramatically lit flowers against a dark background. While staging brightly lit flowers against a dark background was a common format in flower painting, Ruysch's backgrounds hint at an architectural setting which was a new trend among late 17th century flower painters in Amsterdam.
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