Baroque and Beyond C. 1600–1850

Dutch and Flemish Painting

Who was Rachel Ruysch?

Rachel Ruysch (1664–1750) was one of three prominent women artists working in Netherlands in the seventeenth century. The others were Maria van Oosterwijk, known for her still lifes, and Judith Leyster, who painted genre scenes and portraits. Rachel Ruysch specialized in flower still lifes, which were enormously popular during the so-called “Dutch Golden Age.” One of Ruysch’s still lifes was even given as a gift to the visiting queen of France, Marie de’Medici. Flowers were popular subjects for still lifes because of their metaphorical associations with the fragility and impermanence of life, lending these paintings moralizing meanings.


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