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Who Was The Best Flower Painter?

Rachel Ruysch Still Life With Flowers

Today's #TulipFact: Rachel Ruysch, later succeeded by Jan Van Huysum, was considered the greatest Tulip and flower painter of the Dutch Golden Age, achieving international fame and the admiration of art historians today: 

Among other things, the Dutch Golden Age is marked by the emergence of many famous artists, Rembrandt being the most famous today. But when it came to flowers, Rachel Ruysch was perhaps the most skilled of her time.

Born in 1664 after the frenzy of Tulip Mania had subsided, Ruysch took up painting from a young age and only stopped with her death in 1750. In that time, she gained international fame for her works, and developed her own, unique style of painting Tulips and flowers.

Some of her most interesting achievements include:

  • Owning the mantle of best Tulip and flower painter of her time.
  • Being the first female to be offered membership in the Confrerie Pictura in the Hague (an exclusive club of artists and academics).
  • Painting hundreds of works over her lifetime.
  • Earning the praise of art historians as one of the greatest still-life painters of all time.
  • Commanding incredible sums for her paintings during her lifetime - her works often sold for 750-1,200 guilders, versus Rembrandt who rarely exceeded 500 guilders for a work.

Upon Ruysch's death, 11 poets wrote poems about her to commemorate her life, and today her many works still command attention for their beautiful portrayals.


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