Muesume Visit essay

Muesume Visit essay - Art History: Ren to modern

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Rachel Ruysch’s A Vase of Flowers c. 1689 is one of several flower still life’s in the artist’s body of work. At first glance, it appears to be a typical floral arrangement, but first appearances can be deceptive. This is far from your average vase of flowers. By exploring the symbolic meanings of images within the painting, one discovers that Vase of Flowers is a commentary on Dutch history and the transient nature of life. Ruysch was born to a prominent family in The Hague, Netherlands in 1664. 1 Her father was a renowned botanist, so it is fair to say she had an extensive knowledge of flowers from a young age. Her family moved to Amsterdam, and around the age of fifteen she had the unique opportunity (for a woman) to apprentice under famed still life painter Willem van Ael st 2 . Van Aelst was well known for his flower still lifes, and no doubt this greatly influenced Ruysch’s painting. Throughout her career Ruysch painted mostly flower still lifes . One of her trademarks is the way the way the flowers are set on the canvas. Unlike other still life painters, Ruysch almost always featured brightly colored flowers against a dark background. However this particular work of art does not fit that mold, indicating that there a message the artist is trying to convey. Unlike her other still lifes the dark background extends to include some of the flowers, so that some of them almost become a part of the background. Many of the flowers seem to be in shadow, and only a select few are illuminated. This type of composition is reminiscent of Carravagio in terms of the lighting. It’s almost as though
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Muesume Visit essay - Art History: Ren to modern

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