Flower Still Life

Object Details


Flower Still Life


Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (Dutch, 1573 - 1621)






Oil on copper


30.5 x 38.9 cm (12 x 15 5/16 in.)

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A pink carnation, a white rose, and a yellow tulip with red stripes lie in front of a basket of brilliantly colored flowers. Various types of flowers that would not bloom in the same season appear together here: roses, forget-me-nots, lilies-of-the-valley, a cyclamen, a violet, a hyacinth, and tulips. Rendering meticulous detail, Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder conveyed the silky texture of the petals, the prickliness of the rose thorns, and the fragility of opening buds. Insects crawl, alight, or perch on the bouquet. Each is carefully described and observed, from the dragonfly's transparent wings to the butterfly's minutely painted antennae. Although a vague reference, insects, short-lived like flowers, are a reminder of the brevity of life and the transience of its beauty.

A rising interest in botany and a passion for flowers led to an increase in painted floral still lifes at the end of the 1500s in both the Netherlands and Germany. Bosschaert was the first great Dutch specialist in fruit and flower painting and the head of a family of artists. He established a tradition that influenced an entire generation of fruit and flower painters in the Netherlands.

by about 1911 -

Zickenbraht (Berlin, Germany)

Carl S. Mahler (Berlin, Germany)

- 1983

Private Collection (England) [sold, "Property of a Lady" sale, Christie's, London, December 2, 1983, lot 122, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]

The Mauritshuis in Bloom: Bouquets from the Golden Age (April 15 to August 2, 1992) (Cat. 7)
  • Mauritshuis, (The Hague), April 15 to August 2, 1992
Art and Science: Joris Hoefnagel and the Representation of Nature in the Renaissance (October 12, 1999 to January 9, 2000) (Cat. 7)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles)

Christie's, London. Important Old Master Pictures. December 2, 1983 pp. 220-21, lot 122, ill. and cover ill.

"The Sale Room." Apollo 119, no. 266 (April 1984) p. 307, fig. 3.

Bergström, Ingvar. "Baskets with Flowers by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder and their Repercussions on the Art of Balthasar van der Ast." Tableau 6, no. 3 (December 1983 /January 1984) pp. 66-75, fig. 3.

Christie's Review of the Season (1984) p. 32, ill.

"Acquisitions/1983." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 12 (1984) pp. 309-10, no. 7.

Fredericksen, Burton B. "Recent Acquisitions of Paintings: The J. Paul Getty Museum." The Burlington Magazine 127, no. 985 (April 1985) p. 261.

Rodwell, Jenny. Flower Painting: Twenty-Five Flower Painting Projects Illustrated Step-by-Step with Advice on Materials and Techniques (London: North Light, 1985) pp. 16-17, ill.

Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986) p. 142.

Reinewald, Chris. "Musea en Galeries in Amerika. Het Getty Museum: Een Romeinse villa aan de Pacific Coast." Tableau 9, no. 4 (February 1987) pp. 65, 67.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988) unpaginated, no. 18, ill.

Grimm, Claus. Stilleben: Die niederländischen und deutschen Meister (Stuttgart: Belser Verlag, 1988) p. 113, fig. 58.

Sutton, Peter C. "Recent Patterns of Public and Private Collecting of Dutch Art." In Great Dutch Paintings from America, exh. cat. Ben Broos, et al., eds. (The Hague: Mauritshuis, with Waanders, 1990) p. 107.

Yoch, James J. "Garden Curio Chests in the Netherlands, 1500-1700." Pacific Horticulture 51, no. 2 (Summer 1990) p. 33, ill.

Brenninkmeyer-De Rooij, Beatrijs et al. Boeketten uit de Gouden Eeuw: Mauritshuis in Bloei / Bouquets from the Golden Age: The Mauritshuis in Bloom, exh. cat. (The Hague: Mauritshuis, with Waanders, 1992) pp. 64-65, no. 7, ill., entry by Fred G. Meijer.

Bol, Laurens Johannes. "Grepen uit de geschiedenis van de kunst in Zeeland (IV)." Zeeuws Tijdschrift 2 (1993) p. 48, ill.

Eeckhout, Paul. "Petit historique des tableaux de fleurs du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle." In L'empire de flore: Historie et représentation des fleurs en Europe du XVIe au XIXe siècle (Brussels: La renaissance du livre, 1996) p. 272, ill.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 13, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B. et al. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Paintings (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997) p. 49, no. 25, ill., entry by Burton B. Fredericksen.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001) p. 125, ill.

Heilmeyer, Marina. The Language of Flowers: Symbols and Myths (Munich: Prestel Verlag, 2001) pp. 72-73, 92, ill.

Lokin, Daniëlle H. A. C. A Painting of 1617 by Balthasar van der Ast (Amsterdam: Kunsthandel Charles Roelofsz, 2002) p. 9, ill.

Della Torre, Dianora, and Luciano Ravaglioli, eds. Colori con le ali: Fra arte e natura (Meldola: Comune di Meldola, 2005) pp. 50-51, fig. 57.

Chansigaud, Valérie. Une histoire des fleurs: Entre nature et culture (Paris: Delachaux et Niestlé, 2014) pp. 68-69, ill.

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