Rachel Ruysch

Rachel Ruysch (Dutch, 1664/65—1750) was one of the most significant women painters during the 1600s, a period known as the Dutch Golden Age.  Ruysch specialized in still life flower paintings; this example in MAG’s collection, painted when she was only 22 years old, is her second-earliest known work. She married a portrait painter in 1693, raised ten children, and continued to paint, earning great international fame over her long career.

The daughter of a renowned botanist, Ruysch gained skills in observation and arrangement by assisting her father with his specimens. At 15 years old, she was apprenticed to a prominent master flower painter, an extremely rare opportunity for a young woman. Her talent and reputation earned her many international patrons, the position of court painter in Düsseldorf to the Elector Palatine of Bavaria, and membership in The Hague painters’ guild.  Ruysch continued to paint well into her eighties, and produced at least 100 paintings by before her death at age 85. 

Portrait of Rachel Ruysch, 1706; Godfried Schalcken, Dutch, 1643 –1706; Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, Cheltenham, England; Collection of the Baron de Ferrieres, 1899.1.18