Urgent Museum Notice

Rachel Ruysch

Drawing of an older light-skinned woman in an oval frame. She wears a white bonnet and scarf and stares directly at the viewer. Surrounding the frame sit various objects such as fruit, coins, and paint brushes and a palette.

Aert Schouman, Portrait of Rachel Pool-Ruysch, 1749; The Rijksmuseum Library, Amsterdam; © Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

1664–1750

Ruysch’s maternal grandfather, Pieter Post, was an important architect, and her father, Frederik Ruysch, an eminent scientist. From him, she learned how to observe and record nature with great accuracy. At 15, she was apprenticed to the well-known Dutch flower painter Willem van Aelst. From that point on, she produced various kinds of still lifes, mainly flower pieces and woodland scenes.

In 1701, Ruysch became a member of the painters’ guild in The Hague. At that time, she began producing large flower works for an international circle of patrons. Several years later, Ruysch was invited to Düsseldorf to serve as court painter to Johann Wilhelm, the Elector Palatine of Bavaria. She remained there from 1708 until the prince’s death in 1716.

After returning to Holland, Ruysch kept painting fruit and flower pictures for a prominent clientele. She remained artistically active, proudly inscribing her age on a canvas she completed in 1747, at age 83. Despite the changes in popularity of flower paintings during the years since her death, Ruysch’s reputation has never waned.

Artist Details

  • Name

    Rachel Ruysch
  • Birth

    The Hague, the Netherlands, 1664
  • Death

    Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1750
  • Phonetic Spelling

    RAHG-kehl RAH-eesh

Works by Rachel Ruysch

Roses, Convolvulus, Poppies, and Other Flowers in an Urn on a Stone Ledge

The exuberant profusion of flowers in this still life by Rachel Ruysch celebrates color, texture, and form. Her minute attention to detail captured even the individual grains of pollen inside each open flower.

The dynamic, pyramid-shaped composition derives much of its energy from the asymmetrical arrangement of the blossoms, further accentuated by the wildly curving stems and dramatically highlighted...

An elaborate floral arrangement painted with precise detail appears dramatically spot lit against a dark background. Large red and pink blooms dominate, interspersed with small yellow, white, and blue blossoms and varied foliage. Moths and other insects animate the bouquet.