Flowers in a Vase with Shells and Insects by Balthasar van der Ast was created in 1630. The painting is in National Gallery London. The original size of the work is 47 x 36,8 cm and is produced as an oil on oak.
A pyramid of flowers in full bloom. The cool, clear light, so pale it might even be moonlight, makes each flower glow against the grey wall. Full-blown roses, carnations and a snake’s head lily, jostle with wallflowers, snapdragons and lilac. At the top a stately iris crowns the arrangement, a fragile butterfly perched on its furled petal.
But it’s the three tulips that rise on a diagonal line through the centre of the picture that were the prize blooms. When van der Ast painted them, they were hugely expensive. A flower painting such as his was treasured because they were beautiful decorative additions to a wealthy household, but also because they demonstrated the owner’s interest in science… Read more in National Gallery
About the Artist: Dutch Golden Age painter Balthasar van der Ast was born in Middelburg. Van der Ast was trained by Bosschaert as a still life painter, and his early works clearly show Bosschaert’s influence. Van der Ast accompanied the Bosschaert family in their move in 1615 to Bergen op Zoom and in 1619 to Utrecht, where van der Ast entered the Utrecht Guild of St. Luke. Roelandt Savery (1576–1639) entered the St. Luke’s guild in Utrecht at about the same time… Read more