Willem van Aelst

Vase of Flowers with Watch

Oil on canvas, 55.9 x 46.4 cm.
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh
Vase of Flowers with Watch, Willem van Aelst

Willem van AELST
Delft 1627-Amsterdam (?) after 1683

Throughout his lifetime, Van Aelst had a wide reputation as a flower painter. Nevertheless, his pictures show great sensitivity in the painting of fruit as well. He became a member of the painters' guild at Delft in 1643 but left the town two years later. He then worked in France, where there was considerable demand for the skills of Dutch artists, and later he was in the service of the Grand Duke of Tuscany at Florence. In 1657 he returned to Amsterdam, where he seems to have spent the rest of his life. His flowers are executed in a brightly coloured and transparent manner and he also painted a number of pictures of dead game, especially for his Italian patron. His pictures are relatively common.

John Nash, The Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer, London, 1972