The tradition of Dürer's naturalistic image had been maintained at Nuremberg by Hans Hoffmann. Accompanying the craze for cabinets of curiosity, Hoefnagel gathered images of plants and small animals in disparate and didactic alignments that somewhat evoke the insect boxes of our modern entomologists.
The island town of Middelburg in Zeeland had a strong cultural and scientific activity including an important botanical garden. In 1593 Bosschaert is identified as a member of the local guild of Saint Luke. His earliest dated paintings, in 1605, are full-page images in the style of Hoefnagel.
Bosschaert and Brueghel invent the painting of bouquets in a vase in 1606. Working for Cardinal Borromeo but residing in Antwerp, Brueghel paints opulent accumulations mixing flowers of all seasons.
Bosschaert paints simpler arrangements on copper in small format. In this early phase we must not look for a specific meaning behind each flower. It must instead be considered that the cultivation of ornamental flowers, imported from the East and modified by skillful hybridizers, is considered as a top luxury in the Netherlands of his time. Ambitious and aware of the importance of his art, Bosschaert signs with a monogram AB imitating the AD of Dürer.
On January 30 in New York, Sotheby's sells an oil on copper 24 x 18 cm painted by Bosschaert in 1607, lot 26 estimated $ 2.5M. With other flowers in a similar composition, an oil on copper of the same period was sold for CHF 5.8M including premium by Koller on September 19, 2008. The technique on copper allows a great naturalistic precision.
SOLD for $ 3M including premium