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Glassvase, by Abraham
Glass Vase with Flowers, by Abraham Bosschaert 
Images for Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder
Images for Abraham Bosschaert
Images for Ambrosius Bosschaert the Younger
Images for Johannes Bosschaert


In our blog about Balthasar van der Ast, we looked at still-life paintings in general using Balhasar as our main example, I noted that Balthasar’s sister had married Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573–1621) and that upon the death of his father, Balthasar van der Ast had moved in with the Bosschaert “dynasty,” his sister’s family.

The Bosshaerts are called a “dynasty” because Ambrosius the Elder had three sons who became still-life painters.  They first studied under their father and after his death, they became Balthasar van der Ast’s students.  Two of Bosschaert’s three sons seem to have died at a young age, but there is some disagreement concerning these dates. The three sons were:

(please click on the picture to enlarge it)
Basket of Flowers, by Johannes Booschaert

Basket of Flowers, by Johannes Bosschaert

Still-life of Fruit, 1634-1635
Still Life with Fruit, by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Younger, 1634-1635


You will note that all the sons use the same basket. You may also note that the various elements the artists are using sit on a table or shelf and that sometimes one sees the corner of a table. That is typical of the paintings of the Bosschaert family and it has been copied. In a more affluent home, the table would be covered by a beautiful rug, the type of rug we walk on. They used to be called “Turkish” rugs, whatever their provenance. In fact, they were often made in the Netherlands. As for the slight disarray in Ambrosius the Younger’s “Still Life with Fruit,” it is moralistic. It points to instability in matters human.

Baroque Artists

Moreover, we have left Mannerism behind. There are several masterpieces of Mannerism, but they are at times so busy “one does not see the forest for the trees.” If one is a naturalist and likes to study the details, Roelandt Savery provides the display of a lifetime. In fact, if one looks at one detail only, such as the blue and white bird detail of Savery’s “Paradise,” it alone could constitute a fine painting. However, the Booshaert brothers were Baroque artists. Abraham Booshaert’s painting featured at the very top of this post is in no way overbearing.

Among students of Balthasar van der Ast, the foremost are Jan Davidsz de Heem (17 April 1606, Utrecht – before 26 April 1684, Antwerp), and Bartholomeus Assteyn (Dordrecht 1607, probably Dordrecht 1669/1677).  We have images for both.

Images for Jan Davidsz de Heem
Images for Bartholomeus Assteyn

There are countless still-life paintings dating back to the seventeenth century, the Golden Age of Dutch still lifes. It is not possible to view more than a sample. But the internet has many sites replete with still lifes and with other paintings by Dutch masters.  Here are a few sites.

Still-life paintings
Scholar’s Resource
Web Gallery of Art
Olga’s Gallery
Museum Syndicate

I am inserting a video featuring the still-life paintings of Jan Davidsz de Heema particularly successful student of Balthasar van der Ast.  It’s a lovely video.  The picture under the video is by Bartholomeus Assteyn.  It can be enlarged by clicking on the picture itself.

December has come and it has started to snow.
My best regards to all of you.
composer: Ennio Morricone (born November 10, 1928)
piece: “Notturno”
Still life by