The flowers in Verelst’s vase lean towards us, seemingly about to dangle over the edge of the frame. The open tulips and full rose painted in rich colours give the piece a feeling of lush abundance. The dark green foliage behind the blooms provides excellent contrast for their bold and detailed petals. Simon Verelst was considered to be the finest flower painter in England for a time, and the self-declared ‘god of flowers’.
Tate is pleased to offer custom prints of this artwork for the duration of the British Baroque: Power and Illusion exhibition at Tate Britain, 4 February – 19 April 2020. Due to the nature of the original artwork, we are only able to offer custom prints in size options up to 80 x 60 cm.
A Vase of Flowers
British Baroque: Power & Illusion
Original: Oil paint on canvas 44 x 32 cm © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.
Simon Pietersz Verelst (1644–1721?) was a painter of the Dutch Golden Age. Born in The Hague into a family of painters, he moved to London at the age of 25, where he achieved fame as the finest flower painter in England. Whilst he also enjoyed some success as a portrait painter, his flower pieces are his most recognisable, and in his later years he became very boastful of his work, calling himself the ‘god of flowers’. He was confined for insanity, which has been attributed as the cause for some paintings featuring hugely over-scale roses and peonies. His exact year of death is unknown, somewhere between 1710 and 1721.