National Gallery of Art    
Still Life 
feature navigation Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder Luis Meléndez Raphaelle Peale   Previous Page Next page
Still Life    

Bouquet of Flowers 
in a Glass Vase detail by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder
Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, Bouquet of Flowers in a Glass Vase (detail), 1621, oil on copper, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Patrons’ Permanent Fund and New Century Fund 1996.35.1


For the seventeenth-century Dutch, flower paintings had several layers of meaning. Flowers were associated with love. Like jewels, they were both expensive and rare. Tulips, especially the "flamed" or striped variety, were so valuable that thieves were caught sneaking into gardens at night to dig up bulbs! Depicting a rare flower added value to a painting, and during the early years of the seventeenth century, a tulip appears in virtually every Dutch flower still life.

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