Friends of the Mauritshuis Marks Second Anniversary with a Seventeenth-Century Bouquet of Roses
The Friends of the Mauritshuis Foundation has found a special way to commemorate the museum's second anniversary after its reopening. The Foundation announced today that it has acquired Roses in a Glass Vase, painted in around 1640-1645 by Jacob van Hulsdonck (1582-1647) and will place it on long-term loan to the Mauritshuis.
The painting, which was on loan from a private collector, has been on display in the museum since early May as part of a temporary exhibition of flower paintings.
Emilie Gordenker, Director of the Mauritshuis: ‘The Mauritshuis reopened after twenty-four months of building renovations exactly two years ago today. We are immensely grateful to our Friends for marking the anniversary with this outstanding gift. This painting is a superb addition to the museum's rich collection of flower still life paintings.'
Roses in a Glass Vase
Roses in a Glass Vase, painted on a copper plate, demonstrates that Van Hulsdonck, although relatively unknown, had an outstanding talent for painting flowers. Seventeenth-century paintings usually combined a variety of flowers, but in this small work, Van Hulsdonck only included roses, with a dog-rose in the top left of the picture. The flowers are already in full bloom, and the stems bend under the weight of the blossoms. The overblown rose in the top right of the picture makes the painting more naturalistic than usual. The work is executed with great precision throughout, from the water droplets on the petals to the maybeetle in the foreground to the right. The piece demonstrates that Van Hulsdonck continued in the tradition of other flower painters represented in the Mauritshuis collection, such as Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573-1621) and Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625).
Jacob van Hulsdonck (1582 – 1647)
Jacob van Hulsdonck was born in Antwerp in 1582, but grew up in Middelburg, where he learned his trade. While in Middelburg, then a centre for botanists, he came into contact with still life specialists Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder and Jan Breughel the Elder. He may even have been apprenticed to Bosschaert. In 1608 he became a master of the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp. He married twice and had eight children, among whom Gillis Van Hulsdonck (1625-1669), who learned still life painting from his father.
Jacob van Hulsdonck, Roses in a Glass Vase, c. 1640-1645 Mauritshuis, The Hague. Acquired by the Friends of the Mauritshuis, 2016.
Van Hulsdonck concentrated on still life paintings of fruit. He also painted still life flowers and food tables. In the course of his career Van Hulsdonck developed into an innovator in the genre of flower still life painting. He produced highly convincing and balanced depictions, rich in texture and three-dimensionality. The overlaps between the flowers and the transitions from light to shade in Roses in a Glass Vase are in many ways reminiscent of the flower still lifes of the eighteenth century.
Flowers in the Mauritshuis
The genre of flower still life painting is well represented in the collection of the Mauritshuis. The museum is one of only a few in the world to house an overview of the genre's development from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. This area of the collection has been prioritised in the last two years. It is, therefore, no coincidence that the two most recent acquisitions were flower still lifes: Narcissi, Periwinkle and Violets in a Ewer, c. 1562 by Ludger tom Ring II and Vase of Flowers in a Stone Niche (1615) by Roelant Savery.
In May of this year a temporary exhibition of the collection's most beautiful flower still life paintings was installed in one of the museum's small galleries. Included in the exhibition is Jacob van Hulsdonck's Roses in a Glass Vase. The selection, entitled Nature's Most Beautiful, can be seen until Sunday 28 August in Gallery 13 in the Mauritshuis.
From left to right: (in the mirror) Flowers in a Wan-li Vase by Jan Brueghel the Elder, (in the cabinet) Narcissi, Periwinkle and Violets in a Ewer by Ludger tom Ring II, Vase of Flowers by Jan Davidsz de Heem, Roses in a Glass Vase by Jacob van Hulsdonck and Still Life of a Bouquet in the Making by Dirck de Bray. Photo: Ivo Hoekstra