BALTHASAR VAN DER AST (Middelburg 1593/4 – 1657 Delft)
Balthasar van der Ast was born in Middelburg, where he was trained from a young age in the studio of his brother-in-law Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573-1621). In 1615, he probably moved to Bergen-op-Zoom with the Bosschaert family, and later to Utrecht, where in 1619 he was accepted as a master in the guild of Saint Luke. Soon after Bosschaert’s death in 1621, he appears to have taken over as the leading Dutch painter of still lifes of flowers and fruit. In 1632 he took up residence in Delft, where he died 25 years later. As far as we know, van der Ast painted still lifes exclusively, mainly of flowers, fruit and shells, usually enlivened with insects. Until 1628, he often dated his paintings; after that, however, dates are rare and consequently the chronology of his later works is difficult to establish.
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