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Maria van Oosterwijck

Maria van Oosterwijck: A Celebrated Dutch Still Life Painter

Maria van Oosterwijck (1630-1693) was a prominent Dutch Golden Age painter known for her richly detailed and symbolic still lifes. Born in Nootdorp, near Delft, she showed artistic talent from a young age, influenced by her family's connections to other artists. She trained under Jan Davidsz de Heem, a leading still-life painter of the time, significantly shaping her skills and style.

In 1666, van Oosterwijck moved to Amsterdam, where she worked initially as an assistant to Willem van Aelst before establishing her studio. Her paintings were highly sought after, with patrons including European royalty such as Emperor Leopold I of Austria and Cosimo III de' Medici. Van Oosterwijck's works often featured meticulous depictions of flowers, fruits, and insects infused with allegorical and religious symbolism.

Her compositions frequently employed chiaroscuro techniques, enhancing the vibrancy of her subjects against dark backgrounds. She incorporated elements like butterflies and skulls to represent themes of mortality and resurrection, which are common in the Dutch still-life paintings of that period.

Maria van Oosterwijck never married, focusing entirely on her art. She cleverly navigated the male-dominated art world, gaining significant recognition and financial success. Her works are now housed in major collections worldwide, including the Mauritshuis in The Hague and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

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