More Beautiful than Nature

Abundant flower bouquets, fruit, shells, or just a single tulip, the magnificent still lifes by Balthasar van der Ast (1593/94-1657), are nearly unknown to the wider public. The museum presents a choice of the most important paintings by this dutch master. His production was enormous  from the start,  23 dated paintings from 1622 and 1623 are known. He held important commissions, a. o. from the Stadholder’s court in The Hague and from other noble collectors. For many years van der Ast played a leading part in still life painting, until, after 1640, young painters like Willem Kalf, Willem van Aelst and his pupil Jan Davidsz de Heem would take the place at the top of the pyramid and the elder master would sink into oblivion.