Rijksmuseum Acquires 1783 Painting by Gerard Van Spaendonck

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The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam recently procured Gerard van Spaendonck’s painting titled “Still Life of Flowers in Alabaster Vase” from a Parisian gallery. The painting, which the erstwhile Dutch painter created in 1783, is now on display at the Rijksmuseum. It was the museum’s long-awaited wish to include an important artwork by the world-renowned Dutch painter to its collection. The €900,000 purchase was made possible thanks in part to BankGiro Lottery participants’ support.

The General Director of the Rijksmuseum, Taco Dibbits, described the newly procured work of art as “a radiantly beautiful acquisition.” Of course, Spaendonck was a master at the floral still life genre of paintings, some of which he created while he was in Paris city during the 18th Century. The Dutch painter was born in Tilburg city in the in the Netherlands in 1746 and moved to the French capital and settled there during the 1760’s. He gained fame not just as a floral still life painter, but also as the illustrator of the botanical collection of former French kings as well.

In fact, Gerard van Spaendonck was more of an active and leading figure in the art scene of Paris and a tutor of numerous foreign artists as well as the French. He devoted more time to craft plants’ watercolors and towards tutelage. No wonder, he is still regarded as the best flowers’ painter of the era.

The painting “Still Life of Flowers in Alabaster Vase” was actually exhibited by its creator at Paris’s Salon de 1783. It received compliments from critics, comprising praise for the lifelike depiction of insects. Among other works of art, you can now see Gerard van Spaendonck’s painting when on a Rijksmuseum tour, of course, and appreciate his artistry in floral still life.

As per the museum’s recent statement, “The painting shows a bouquet of flowers in an alabaster vase standing atop a marble block on which children are depicted in relief. The painter’s studio window can be seen reflected in the polished surface of the vase. The flowers that feature in this painting include large white and smaller pink peonies, blue delphiniums, purple lilacs, and yellow and purple flamed tulips. Insects can be seen dotted about, and five green blackbird eggs lie in the nest on the right. Even the wicker basket seems almost real enough to touch.”