BOSSCHAERT, Ambrosius the Elder
(b. 1573, Antwerpen, d. 1621, Den Haag)


Flemish flower and still-life painter, active mainly in the Netherlands, where he is recorded in Middelburg from 1593 to 1613 and later in the Utrecht Guild in 1616. Although he spent the major part of his life in the Netherlands, Bosschaert's style was basically Flemish - similar to that of Jan Brueghel, with whom he ranks in quality and as one of the pioneers of flower painting as an independent genre. His bouquets have a rich variety of flowers from different seasons arranged in a formal way. The degree of finish and exactitude, and the subtlety of the colour, are exceptional. His Vase of Flowers (Mauritshuis, The Hague, c.1620) is one of the most reproduced of all flower pieces. Bosschaert may fairly be said to have initiated the Dutch tradition of flower painting and his style was continued by his three sons, Ambrosius the Younger, Abraham, and Johannes, and also by his brother-in-law, Balthasar van der Ast.