Rare flowers including irises, roses and tulips are arranged in an expensive Chinese porcelain vase with a striking gilded foot. Lying next to the vase are lilies of the valley and forget-me-nots, together with a lizard and grasshopper. Hidden in the bouquet itself is another creature: a daddy longlegs.
Van der Ast was taught to paint by his brother-in-law Ambrosius Bosschaert, one of the first artists to specialise in flower pieces. Van der Ast initially painted in the style of his teacher, as is the case here. But his later bouquets became more relaxed and natural.
Balthasar van der Ast (Middelburg 1593 - 1657 Delft)
Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase
Material and technical details
41 x 32 cm
lower right: .B. van deR. ast. fé.
Collection Leyendecker, May 1939; P. de Boer Gallery, Amsterdam, May-June 1939; sold for 1400 guilders to C.T.F. Thurkow, The Hague, 1939; his widow, L. Thurkow-van Huffel; bequest of Mrs L. Thurkow-van Huffel, 1987; on long-term loan to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2003