BRUEGHEL, Jan the Elder
(b. ca. 1568, Bruxelles, d. 1625, Antwerpen)

Bouquet in a Clay Vase

1599-1607
Oil on wood, 51 x 40 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

Unlike Bosschaert, Brueghel did not use landscapes as a background. Rather, protruding upwards from a flower pot, his myriads of flowers are set against a pitch-dark background, so that the contrast gives them a luminous quality. While Bosschaert preferred more cultivated flowers - rather costly at the time - and only depicted a few flowers of the fields and meadows among them, it is precisely these delicate plants that gave Brueghel the idea for 'tapestry' of flowers. Indeed, there is such an abundance of different species that they often defeat identification - over 130 kinds have been counted up to now. It is indeed a tapestry, as all the blossoms seem to crowd towards the front, just as in a two-dimensional space.