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New acquisition for the Mauritshuis

As of today, the Mauritshuis is the proud new owner of a special flower still life: Narcissi, Periwinkle and Violets in a Ewer (ca. 1562) by German painter Ludger tom Ring the Younger (1522-1584).

Narcissen, maagdenpalm en viooltjes in een kan (c.1562) van Ludger tom Ring II

Ludger tom Ring the Younger (1522-1584), Narcissi, Periwinkle and Violets in a Ewer, c.1562. Panel (reduced) 35 x 15.5 cm. Mauritshuis, The Hague, on permanent loan from the Foundation Friends of the Mauritshuis (new acquisition).

The museum has obtained the painting on permanent loan from the Foundation Friends of the Mauritshuis, which recently purchased it at an auction in New York. The panel is an unusually early example of an independent flower still life, making it extremely rare.

Emilie Gordenker, director of the Mauritshuis: "An early sixteenth-century painted flower still life such as this acquisition is a first for the Mauritshuis and for any Dutch public collection. The Mauritshuis has been seeking to add such a painting to its collection for some time. Ludger tom Ring's works have not been represented in any Dutch collection – until today. We are extremely thankful to our Friends for acquiring this painting and placing it on loan to the Mauritshuis.

A particularly early bouquet

Independent flower still lifes painted before 1600 are a rarity. Until that time, bouquets appeared at most as part of a larger work, such as a representation of the Virgin Mary. A painting that is often named as the first independent flower still life is a panel by Hans Memling, but this bouquet from around 1485-1490 was painted on the back of a man’s portrait. Originally, that portrait was part of a diptych featuring Mary, such that the flower still life could only be seen when the panels were closed.

After 1600, flowers became a popular independent subject in paintings. Artists such as Jan Brueghel the Elder and Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder then started painting flower still lifes at about the same time. Ludger tom Ring anticipated this trend by about forty years. He was therefore a pioneer, and painted only six other flower still lifes aside from this acquisition, all of which are in foreign collections.

The new acquisition is now on view at room 7.

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