Flowers in a glass vase with a butterfly and beetle on a stone ledge

Nicolaes van Veerendael was celebrated during his lifetime as a painter of flower pieces such as this. In this bright and dynamic still-life, a lavish bouquet of flowers stands in a sparkling glass vase. The vibrant, primary colors of the blooms burst forth from a dark background, evoking the works of Veerendael's predecessors in Antwerp, Daniel Seghers (1590-1661) and Jan Breughel I (1563-1625). Also evident in the painting are characteristic features for which Veerendael is well known: bold contrasting colors, a preference for combining pinks and reds in a single composition, and an expert use of whites. Another hallmark of Veerendael's paintings is the play of light that appears carefully studied from life. In this case, the reflection of a window in the glass vase rewards close-looking viewers with an intriguing, although perhaps imaginary, glimpse of the artist's studio as the painting was being created.

This still life, though undated, was probably executed in the 1660s, as in palette and composition it bears a close resemblance to the still life in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, dated 1662 (inv. 81.1.652). Moreover, in the 1670s the artist moved towards larger, lavish compositions in the vein of another Antwerp master, Jan Davidsz. de Heem, with whom Veerendael collaborated on Still Life of Flowers with a Crucifix in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich (inv. 568). Veerendael maintained a painstaking attention to detail throughout his career and it is perhaps not surprising that according to his 18th-century biographer, J. Weyerman, Veerendael sometimes took more than four days to finish a single flower (J. Weyerman, De Levensbeschryvingen der Nederlandse Konstschilders en Konstschilderessen, Dordrecht, 1729, III, pp. 234-236).

Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum, on loan, 2008-2012.

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT COLLECTION

with Hoogsteder, The Hague, 1994, from whom purchased by the present owner.

About Nicolaes van Veerendael

Flemish, 1626-1640, Antwerp, Belgium, based in Antwerp, Belgium