van der Ast


Balthasar van der Ast (circa 1593-1657) specialized in still-lifes of flowers and fruit, but his particular specialty is the still-life composed exclusively of shells. His paintings are more varied than Bosschaert's, and they frequently include lively lizards and toads.

Van der Ast was born in Middelburg, The Netherlands. He was orphaned when his father Hans, a wealthy widower, died in 1609. After his father's death he may have lived with his older sister Maria and her husband, the still-life painter Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573-1621). Van der Ast's paintings show the impact of Bosschaert's art, which he could have seen in his brother-in-law's studio. Van der Ast, his brother-in-law and three nephews have become known as the Bosschaert dynasty, a group of painters famous for their still-lifes. He seems to have accompanied Bosschaert when the couple moved from Middelburg to Bergen op Zoom in 1615, and a few years later to Utrecht.

In 1619 Van der Ast joined the Saint Luke's Guild in Utrecht. While there he probably trained Bosschaert's three sons after their father had died in 1621. He also taught Jan Davidsz de Heem. In 1632 he moved to Delft and joined that city's Saint Luke's Guild. He and his wife, Margrieta Jans van Burn, whom he married in 1633, had two daughters, Maria and Helena. Van der Ast died in Delft in December 1657 and was buried in the Oude Kerk (Old Church) there.


"Still Life with Fruits and Flowers" (circa 1620-21) Oil on panel, 40 x 70 cm - 15.5 x 27.6 in. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

"Basket of Fruits" (circa 1632) Oil on wood, 14.3 x 20 cm - 5.5 x 7.9 in. Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany.

"Still-life(circa 1628) Pen and watercolor, 29,1 x 39,9 cm - 11.5 x 15.7 in. British Museum, London, UK.

"Still Life with Shells" (detail) Oil on panel, 30 47 cm - 11.81 18.5 in. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


"Still Life with Flowers" (circa 1632-57) Oil on canvas, 59 x 43 cm - 23.2 x 16.9 in. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


"Still-life with Dish of Fruit" Oil on wood. Staatliche Museen, Berlin, Germany.'

Text source: 'Webmuseum' ( and others.

Related Artists: Ambrosius Bosschaert 'the Elder'.

Related Terms: Still-life.


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