BOSSCHAERT, Dutch family of painters of Flemish origin

Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder was one of the first artists to specialize in flower painting in the northern Netherlands. Other members of what has become known as the Bosschaert dynasty of fruit and flower painters include his three sons Ambrosius Bosschaert the Younger, Johannes Bosschaert and Abraham Bosschaert, as well as his brother-in-law Balthasar van der Ast and the latter's lesser-known brother Johannes van der Ast. Johannes Bosschaert seems from an early age to have been a talented painter, whose few surviving works are mostly horizontal in format and strongly influenced by his uncle Balthasar van der Ast. By contrast, Abraham Bosschaert apparently favoured an oval format and was a much less skilled artist, to judge from the equally small number of known paintings by him. It was, in fact, the eldest son and namesake who most closely followed the tradition established by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, whose activities in Middelburg at the beginning of his career made it the centre of flower painting in the Netherlands. This switched to Utrecht after Ambrosius the Elder's move there in 1616; all of his sons were active in Utrecht, as were van der Ast and other important exponents of the genre (e.g. Roelandt Savery).