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Johannes Bosschaert

Middelburg 1610 - Dordrecht after 1628

Johannes Bosschaert was the son of Ambrosius the Elder, the brother of Ambrosius the Younger and Abraham, all Dutch painters of fruit and flowers. The three brothers were introduced to painting in their father’s studio during his most glorious era in Breda.

Johannes had a prodigious talent; at the age of 16, he was producing still lifes of flowers and fruit of an astonishing quality. After his father’s death in 1621, he was undeniably influenced by his uncle, the painter Balthazar van der Ast. At the time, his uncle lived in Utrecht and probably took on his young nephew as an apprentice. In particular, Bosschaert copied the same tulip – the favourite flower of Van der Ast – several times. He was also inspired by his uncle’s way of combining a dish of fruit with a vase of flowers in the same painting while scattering the flowers, fruit and other accessories right up to the edge of the table. His still lifes of flowers and fruit are composed and executed with great skill. The delicately painted petals and the transparent skin of the fruit bear witness to his excellent technique. Unlike his father, his lines and his colours are a little harder. Two magnificent paintings wonderfully illustrating his early talent can be admired in a private collection in Amsterdam, and in the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands. They are both signed and dated 1626. The Louvre has an exquisite basket of flowers painted by him. We know very little about his life. He probably lived in Dordrecht but the date of his death is unknown. He was in the habit of signing and dating his works, which are extremely rare considering his short life.