LONDON, UK: The Flower Council of Holland is thrilled to be supporting the National Gallery’s ‘Dutch Flowers’ exhibition this year, the first display in 20 years to examine Dutch flower paintings from the early 17th century to late 18th century. To celebrate, the Council brought Dutch artist Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder’s floral masterpiece, A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase to life from June 2-6.
Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder was born in Antwerp but he and his family were among the many Protestant refugees who fled to the Northern Netherlands in response to religious persecution. After training in Antwerp, he joined the Middelburg guild as a master in 1593 specialising in flower and fruit still life paintings.
A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase was painted on copper and combines the classic elements of Bosschaert’s paintings: tulips, hyacinths, blue and white porcelain, pineapples, seashells and insects.
The flowers in this Bosschaert’s painting (including lilies, tulips, roses, hyacinths and carnations) were painted with almost scientific precision. The bouquet, however, was a fiction: these flowers do not bloom at the same time, and would have been far too precious to cut for temporary display. This is also the reason some flowers in the installation had to be substituted for flowers currently in season.
The image was made up of 26 varieties of cut flower, and featured 26,430 mixed stems, bringing the total (with replenishments) to 52,950 stems over the five days the installation was up at the National Gallery’s West Lawn.
The Dutch Flowers exhibition at the National Gallery runs until 29 August 2016. Find out more about the National Gallery’s ‘Dutch Flowers’ exhibition here