In the 17th century painters must have made thousands of still lifes. Paintings, on canvas or wood panel, colorful bouquets, fruit, flower arrangements a.s.o. The highlight of painting still lifes was in the 17th century. Those paintings, made in the 'Golden Age', are internationally still considered unsurpassed. Many famous painters such as Jan Davidsz. De Heem, Willem van Aelst and Balthasar van der Ast devoted themselves exclusively to painting still lifes. Other renowned artists made this work occasionally, such as Rembrandt ('The dead peacocks ").
One of the lesser known but nevertheless high painters of that time is Maria van Oosterwijck, born in Nootdorp, a Dutch village near The Hague. The fact that a woman in the 17th century could have risen to the top of this genre of painting itself is very special. In his bookHandbuch der Kunstgeschichte the German art historian Franz Kugler wrote: "In my opinion, Maria van Oosterwyck has not that place in the art of this period she deserves, which partly could be attributed to the rarity of her paintings, particularly in public collections."
This website fills the knowledge gap concerning Maria van Oosterwijck.
It contains two main parts:
1. the biography of Mary of Oosterwijck and
2. a retrospective of her paintings.
The biography includes for the first time a possible picture of the life of Maria van Oosterwijck and her world. Her biography describes her life, her family, her environment and social connections. It offers a glimpse into the family she grew up, her youth, her education and what contemporaries and conditions had a significant influence on her life and work. The social and artistic networks show remarkable lateral linkages, which are interesting for art historians.
The other main part is about the work of Maria. The retrospective includes work that currently can be attributed to her. This part also offers an overview of paintings that in the past were considered as a "Maria van Oosterwijck-painting", but - with the knowledge on this moment - which must now be said that the paintings are not been painted by Maria or at least highly questionable.
Thanks go to Laurentia McIntosh Cincoski at the Faculty of Art History at the University of Wisconsin - Stout (USA), for the inspiration she gave to continue my investigations. I also thank Fred Meyer, curator at the Netherlands Institute for Art History in The Hague and unrivaled expert on the northern and southern Dutch still life painting from the 16th to the 18th centuries. He read the first manuscript of the biography and gave useful information.
2631HR Nootdorp (NL)