Caravaggio and the Painters of the North
From 21 June to 18 September 2016
Bosschaert was a painter and art dealer, born in Antwerp. Following the Spanish occupation of the city in 1585 his family fled in fear of religious persecution and moved to Middelburg. Little information is known regarding his early years other than that in 1593 he is registered for the first time as a painter in the guild of Saint Luke in Middelburg. His first known, signed work dates from much later, in 1605, and it has thus been suggested that he was initially more active in his other profession, that of art dealer. Bosschaert married Maria van der Ast, sister of the painter Balthasar van der Ast in 1604. The latter went to live with Bosschaert in 1606 following his father’s death and received lessons from him. Between 1597 and 1613 Bosschaert held the position of dean of the guild of Saint Luke in Middelburg on three occasions while continuing to be active as an art dealer. We know that he was involved in the purchase and sale of art from Antwerp, Frankfurt, England and Ireland and was the intermediary for artists such as Veronese and Georg Flegel. In 1615 Bosschaert is documented in Bergen-op-Zoom while in 1616 he acquired citizenship in Utrecht and was registered in the painters’ guild there
From. 1620 he continued his activities in Breda. Bosschaert died one year later during a trip to The Hague to deliver a work that had been commissioned from him. Three of his sons — Ambrosius, Abraham and Johan — followed him as painters. A leading painter of floral still lifes, Bosschaert is considered one of the founding figures of this genre and the creator of a format that survived in Middelburg until the mid-17th century. His floral still lifes are realistic depictions of tulips, roses and other cultivated flowers arranged symmetrically, with a marked emphasis on the vertical axis and crowned at the top by an exotic flower.