Rachel Ruysch (1664 -1750) was a Dutch still life painter best known for her artwork involving flowers. She was undoubtedly inspired by her father, a very famous botanist of the era. She had a long career of painting starting at age 15 and continuing producing excellent works well into her 80s. The backgrounds of her paintings were very dark, which was the style for flower paintings at the time. Later in her life, she was influenced by another painter who painted lighter backgrounds, and she too adapted that style. YouÂ’ll find many examples of her works in our pattern set, with flowers in bouquets, vases, and with various props including a butterfly, fruits, tree trunks, tulips, insects, and bees.

Patterns Included In This Set:


Still Life with Bouquet of Flowers and Plums

Flowers on a Tree Trunk

Rose Branch with Beetle and Bee



Flower Still Life

Flower Still Life with Butterflies at a Stone Bench


A Vase of Flowers

Still Life with Fruits and Insects

Bouquet in a Glass Vase


Still Life with Flowers

Still Life with Flowers

A Vase of Flowers



Still Life with Flowers in Sun

Still Life of Roses Lillies and Tulips


Still Life with Butterflies


A Still Life of Flowers in a Vase on a Ledge

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Describing Rachel Ruysch as an artist is limiting. Ruysch lived a long, rich life. She spent her 86 years (1664-1750) surrounded by family members who loved art, learning, and one another.

Her love of art was great and unique. The focal points of her paintings stood out among the many artistic talents of her family and other seventeenth century painters. She specialized in creating still lifes that often featured collections of flowers. With attention to detail and a myriad of blended colors, her work surpassed that of her contemporaries and is still topic of conversation today.

Even though aspects of her artistic style were distinct, it is apparent that she picked up many techniques from her time apprenticing with Dutch flower painter Willem van Aelst, and from watching and working alongside her father.

Frederik Ruysch taught his daughter a lot about life and art. He was a recognized botanist and anatomist. One of his greatest interests was in special "liquor" that served as an embalming agent. In 1717, Ruysch sold the liquor recipe to Peter the Great, among other items.

His science projects were known as his "repository of curiosities." One of his specialties, for instance, was creating dioramas that included well-preserved human parts. Rachel helped put her father's science on display by decorating his collection with flowers and lace. From this experience, it seems that she learned how to recognize nature in a way that was accurate and appealing to broad audiences.

When Rachel turned 15, she began working with Willem van Aelst at his studio in Amsterdam. One of his stylistic tendencies that Rachel later adopted was the use of dark backgrounds. Therefore, most of her work includes highly detailed, bright, still life floral arrangements set on dark backgrounds.

Her immersion into art did not stop there. Rachel's paternal grandfather was a Dutch painter, printmaker and architect of the Golden Age. She also married a portrait painter from Amsterdam, named Juriaen Pool. In addition, one of her sisters married a painter and her other sister married a dealer of paints.

While she lived in Amsterdam for most of her life, she returned to her birthplace, The Hague, around 1700 to accept a prestigious role. She would become the first female member of the Confrerie Pictura, a painter's guild. The mother of 10 was honored by this invitation and would continue gaining respect from the art community and international fame for years to come.

In 1708 she was asked to become the court painter for the Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine in Düsseldorf. She served there until 1716, in addition to working on her own paintings at home.

Throughout the long life and career of Rachel Ruysch, she painted more than 100 masterpieces. She also had fame that spread far beyond the Netherlands. Aside from being born into an artistic family, she had talent that set her apart from other seventeenth century artists.

Rachel had a hold on composition. She knew how to use colors that worked in harmony. She let her soft, natural hues stand out by setting them in front of soft backdrops. All the while she incorporated texture in great detail, which brought every pedal, leaf, and dew drop to life. Her still lifes were masterful because of this fact; she made the flowers appear so real that people wanted to reach out and touch them.

Her art has this effect on people to this day as they hang in museums, galleries, and in private collections to this day. Still, it would be hard to say Rachel Ruysch's life was defined by work. The beauty of her craft and the content of her character come from a rich place of love and belonging.

National Museum of Women in the Arts


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