Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rachel Ruysch

Rachel Ruysch
Dutch painter Rachel Ruysch, whose life and career straddled the seventeenth and eighteeth centuries, was renowned for her striking still life paintings of flowers, which occasionally featured fruit and crystal glassware.

Very often they featured insects as well, perhaps either to make them more true to nature or to intimate that the flowers and fruits portrayed were already so realistic they had attracted real insects.

Her compositions were set against black, a common approach for floral still life at the time, thought the backgrounds in her later paintings were often lighter.

Her works were intricately detailed, and presumably, botanically accurate; her father was an anatomist and botanist who illustrated his own catalog of specimens.

Ruysch was apprenticed to well known flower painter Willem van Aeist at age fifteen, and her early work very much shows his influence.

She married portrait artist Juriaen Pool, one of her sisters also married a painter and another, a maker of paints.

Her work is best viewed in detail, which you can do with a couple of pieces in the Rijksmuseum, one in National Gallery, UK, and one on Google Art Project.

4 thoughts on “Rachel Ruysch

  1. Trish W

    This is a wonderful collection! Nothing compares to the golden age of the Dutch masters — I was not familiar with Ruysch, so thanks for introducing her to me. You brightened my day :-)

  2. Susanne E.

    Charley, that post made my day! I love Rachel Ruysch very much, and Jan van Huysum and De Heem as well. Their paintings are so delightful in their botanic accuracy and so artfully arranged with all seasons of flowers and fruit. And it’s always fun to count how many insects you can find :-)

    I sometimes wonder with these Dutch still lifes how many of them are really the artist’s own hand and how many are just attributed or painted by members of a workshop. These paintings must take quite a while to complete – I have read that Rachel Ruysch took up to a year to paint one still life. So I am surprised how many paintings from some of the more wellknown names can be found in the museums (Sometimes they look quite different too, despite the same signature).

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