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Arts of Europe

The MFAH collections of art created on the European continent encompass artistic styles across the time line of history, from the ancient world to the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern era to the 21st century.

Netherlandish, c. 1593/4 - 1657
Still Life of Flowers in a Glass Vase
Oil on copper

12 3/8 x 9 5/16 inches

Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston
Arts of Europe

Balthasar van der Ast, one of the earliest masters of the flower still life, filled his images with rare and coveted blooms such as the irises and tulips seen in this painting. To enliven his scenes, he often employed creatures like the dragonfly and the artfully contorted lizard seen in the foreground.

The choice of copper as a support for this intimate work allowed van der Ast to attain a smooth, blemishless surface for his delicate, liquid brushwork. Thin layers of glazes overlay a careful underdrawing in order to create the vividly colored flowers and foliage.