Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday Salon: A Favorite Painting or Two or Three...

Rachel Ruysch (1664 - 1750) was a Dutch artistic prodigy who lived to the age of 85 (in a time when such a thing was a feat in itself) and spent most of that long lifetime creating. Her last painting is dated when Ruysch was 83.

Only one of a handful of recognized women artists working during the 17th/18th century Dutch Golden Age, Ruysch was born in The Hague but the family moved to Amsterdam when she was three. She was the daughter of famed anatomist and botanist Frederik Ruysch. Early on, Ruysch and her sister were allowed to study under master flower painter Willem Van Aeist.

Ruysch later married fellow painter, Jurriaen Pool, and together they had ten children. But she still managed to keep working for the entirety of her busy and productive life and left behind  many gorgeous still life 'captures' of blowzy flowers usually set against dark backgrounds and adorned (if one looks closely) with insects such as butterflies, beetles and the like.

For more about the remarkable Dutch master painter Rachel Ruysch, please go to this link.

And also to this one at the online Dictionary of Dutch Women.

To see two absolutely incredible close-ups of Ruysch's finely detailed workgo here to Jacques de Beaufort's blog.


  1. These paintings are all lovely, of course.

    I just noticed the one below the link to de Beaufort's blog. That is unusual and interesting.

    But 10 children! The mind reels. How could she pursue her art while taking care of them? Wonder if she waited until they were older before doing this.

  2. Kathy: They probably had nannies, I would imagine. No, in everything I've read it says that she continued to paint throughout her entire life. She must have been an amazing woman. :)

  3. She certainly mastered the flower. Awesome, better than Computer art, right??


  4. Yvonne: Absolutely! There's nothing like the real thing. :)

  5. Yes, they probably had nannies, and also grandmothers and aunts around who helped out with the children. And housekeepers and governesses, if they had the financial means.

    Anyway, it's great to see the works of women artists whom I'd never heard of before.

  6. Kathy: It is amazing to me, the incredible career she had at a time when women had few rights and carving out a career took great fortitude and dexterity. She was a court painter so her income must have been rather good. Not to mention that her husband was also a painter. He did portraits.

    But far as I can tell, he was no where as famed as she.

  7. I'm not normally a fan of flower painting, or still life in general, but these have such amazing details in them. I may have to rethink what I actually like. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Ryan: You're welcome. Aren't these amazing? The detail is astonishing. Did you check over to Jacques de Beaufort's blog for the fine detail? I love these.

    Ruysch's life was equally astonishing, I think. I wish someone would make a film of her lifestory.

  9. Rachel Ruysch’s paintings are some of my favourites from the Dutch Golden Era! I always felt fascinated by the little butterflies or plain old flies in her paintings that surreptitiously tag along the beautiful flowers. Thanks for featuring her!

  10. wutheringwillow: You're more than welcome! I'm glad to find another Ruysch fan. I love these paintings. Did you check out the link to Jacques de Beaufort's amazing close-ups? You can see all the incredible detail.

    This is really some of the most beautiful work I've ever seen.

  11. I love Rachel Ruysch's work--especially the blowzy flowers!

  12. Lauren: Aren't they wonderful? I'm a big fan of the Dutch Golden Age of painting and especially Ruysch's amazing still life work.


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