RUYSCH, Rachel
(b. 1664, Den Haag, d. 1750, Amsterdam)


Dutch still-life painter, with van Huysum the most celebrated exponent of flower pieces of her period. The daughter of a botanist and the pupil of Willem van Aelst, she worked mainly in her native Amsterdam, but also in The Hague (1701-08) and Düsseldorf, where from 1708 to 1716 she was court painter to the Elector Palatine. Her richly devised bouquets were painted in delicate colours with meticulous detail, and their artistry and craftsmanship are worthy of the finest tradition of Dutch flower painting. She continued to use the dark backgrounds characteristic of van Aelst and the older generation long after van Huysum and other contemporaries had gone over to light backgrounds.

Ruysch lived eighty-five years and her dated works establish that she painted from the time she was a young woman until she was an octogenarian. However, only about a hundred paintings by her are known. Possibly she worked slowly; perhaps her responsibilities as a wife and mother - she had ten children, her husband was the portraitist Juriaen Pool (1666-1745) - slowed her pace.