The National Gallery celebrate spring in their latest exhibition that explores the evolution of Dutch flower painting over two centuries. 

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Flowers in a White Stone Vase, Dirck de Bray, 1671. Private collection (c)courtesy of owner. 

Displayed in room 1 at the National Gallery, the display will feature 22 works that will explore the origins of the genre, all the way through its rising popularity until the late 18th century.

Approximately half of the paintings on display come from the National Gallery’s permanent collection, with the rest coming from private collections. Many of the paintings will be displayed for the first time having only recently joined the gallery on a long term loan.

It was at the turn of the 17th century that artists such as Jan Brueghel the Elder, Ambrosius Bosschaert and Roelandt Savery began to produce paintings that exclusively depicted flowers. The development of this genre came as scientific interest in in botany and horticulture increased at the end of the 16th century.

This was also a period in which botanical gardens became more established in the Netherlands and a booming trade in exotic cultivars.

The exhibition also coincides with the Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower shows and allows visitors to examine the flower paintings in detail to appreciate the characteristics of each individual artist.

Talking about the display, Betsy Wieseman, Curator of Dutch and Flemish Paintings said: “This gorgeous display draws attention to the National Gallery’s extensive collection of Dutch flower paintings from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  It is the first exhibition in London to be devoted to this perennially popular theme in over 20 years.”

Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery said, “The exhibition is an opportunity to admire the exquisite skill of Dutch flower painters over a period of nearly 200 years in works from the National Gallery and from private collections. They are paintings of astounding quality and beauty, often rich in symbolism and historic interest.”

Dutch Flowers is on display at the National Gallery from the 6th April to the 29th August. Admission to the display is free.