Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder was born in Antwerp but he and his family were among the many Protestant refugees who fled to the Northern Netherlands in response to religious persecution. After training in Antwerp, he joined the Middelburg guild as a master in 1593 specialising in flower and fruit still life paintings.
A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase was painted on copper and combines the classic elements of Bosschaert's paintings: tulips, hyacinths, blue and white porcelain, pineapples, seashells and insects.
The flowers in this Bosschaert's painting (including lilies, tulips, roses, hyacinths and carnations) are painted with almost scientific precision. The bouquet, however, is a fiction: these flowers do not bloom at the same time, and they would have been far too precious in those days to cut for temporary display. This is also the reason some flowers in our installation had to be substituted for flowers currently in season.
The image was made up of 26 varieties of cut flowers, featured 26,430 mixed blooms, bringing the total stem-count (including replenishments) to 52,950 over the five days the installation was up.
The National Gallery's West lawn.
Thursday 2 June - Monday 6 June 2016.
Read more about the National Gallery's 'Dutch Flowers' exhibition here.
Dutch Flowers exhibition at the National Gallery was on until 29 August 2016.