Ambrosius II Bosschaert is a representative of 17th century Dutch still life, he was one of the first painters who concentrated entirely on still lifes with bouquets of flowers and fruit.
Bosschaert was born in Antwerp in 1573, but had to flee to Holland because of his religious beliefs before reaching the age of twenty. He settled in Middelburg, the capital of the Dutch province of Zeeland, where he became famous for his radially composed still lifes of flowers. Later he also worked in Utrecht and Breda.
The most famous of his works is no doubt his Bouquet of Flowers, placed in front of a round, arched window. It has been observed that Bosschaert’s still lifes, combine flowers that blossom at different times, so that this is an idealized flower still life, a painted botanical encyclopedia to a contemporary viewer, at the same time his floral paintings have a symbolic meaning, which is true for all early masters of the still lifes, even though the symbols are often hidden from contemporary eyes.
As a floral still life painter Bosschaert started a whole ‘dynasty’ that specialized in the subject, and the tradition he had started was continued by his three sons, two brothers-in-law and a son in law. He also worked as an art dealer.
Bosschaert died in The Hague in 1621. He had a great deal of influence on Dutch still-life painting.
The Bosschaert Dynasty: Painters of Flowers and Fruit by Laurens J. Bol. A & C Black (Publishers) Ltd, 1960.
c.1619-20. Oil on wood. 64 x 46 cm. Mauritshuis, the Hague, Netherlands.