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


Early Dutch still life also had a religious dimension. Images such as this were idealized in composition and context. For example, the flowers shown here bloomed in different seasons and could not have been arranged together. As for the setting, a vase of flowers was not a common sight in everyday Dutch households—they were very expensive. For the Dutch, a beautiful flower demonstrated that God's natural world was full of beauty and variety. Because they bloom only briefly, flowers also signified transience and reminded viewers of death, a theme called vanitas.

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