Balthasar van der Ast

Flowers in a Vase with Shells and Insects

c. 1630
Oil on oak, 47 x 36.8 cm.
National Gallery, London
Flowers in a Vase with Shells and Insects, Balthasar van der Ast

Balthasar VAN DER AST
Middleburg 1593/94–1657 Delft

Balthasar van der Ast was born in Middleburg about 1593/94. After the premature death of his father, a wealthy merchant, in 1609, he moved in with the family of his sister Mari, who had married the flower painter Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573–1621): A short while later Van der Alt became apprenticed to his brother-in-law. (Bosschaert probably also trained Balthasar's brother Johannes) who became a flower painter as well.) In 1615 Van der Ast moved with the Bosschaert family to Bergen op Zoom. A year later the Bosschaerts are documented in Utrecht, while Van der Ast appears in Utrecht records only in 1619, when he entered the local Guild of Saint Luke. After twelve years in Utrecht he moved to Delft, where he became a citizen and joined the Guild of Saint Luke on June 2, 1632. He married Margrieta jans van Buijeren in Delft on February 26, 1633. The couple had two children. Van der Ast stayed in Delft until his death) in December 16S7. His pupils may have included Bosschaert's sons Ambrosius the Younger (1609–1645), Johannes (c. 1612/13–1628 or later), and Abraham (1606–1683/84).