Rachel Ruysch

Rachel Ruysch 1664 -1750

The life and work of Rachel Ruysch

Rachel was born in May 1664 and was baptized on June 3 1664 in The Hague.

Her parents are Frederick Ruysch, a famous atomomist/botanist. Her mother is the daughter of Pieter Post (architect of the Mauritshuis in The Hague, among others) and the niece of the Haarlem painter Frans Post who went to Brazil on commission of Johan Maurits.

As a 3 year old girl Rachel moves with her family to Amsterdam because her father gets a job at the Athenaeum Illustre. When Rachel is  15 years old, she became an apprentice of painter Willem van Aelst. Her younger sister Anna is an apprentice by Willem. They both become flower and fruit still lifes painters.

On August 12 1693 Rachel married Jurriaen Pool, portrait painter, in Buiksloot, together they have 10 children. Her daughter Rachel, named after her mother, dies on November 23 in 1718. Her youngest and last son Jan Wilhelm (born July 21 – 1711) is named after Johan Wilhelm van de Palts who was her patron between 1708 and 1716.

Rachel was asked to paint at the royal court in Düsseldorf after Johan Wilhelm had seen her work during a visit to her father. Her father has been working at Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam since 1685.  Jan Wilhelm’s godparents are Johan Wilhelm and his wife Maria Anna Luise d’Medici.

In 1701 Rachel became the first woman to become a member of the painting society “Pictura” in The Hague. Despite the fact that Rachel and her husband won a lottery in 1723 with a huge price of Fl. 75,000, Rachel continues to paint flower and fruit still lifes until she reaches the age of 84.

On 12 August 1750 Rachel dies in Amsterdam.

Would you like a masterpiece by Rachel Ruysch on your wall?

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