The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate,
MD, Senior Contributing Editor.
By the time Jan van Huysum (1682-1749) was born in Amsterdam toward
the end of the 17th century, the great Golden Age of Dutch painting had lost
much of its glitter. The greats—Hals, Rembrandt, Vermeer—were
dead, Hals in 1666, Rembrandt in 1669, Vermeer in 1675. By no means, however,
did this signal the end of Dutch painting. Indeed, when van Huysum began his
work, he was hailed by his contemporaries as the "phoenix of all flower painters";
he was an acknowledged great in a so-called minor genre perhaps, but in the
hands of the Dutch there were no minor genres—only beautiful paintings.
Still, he was a man of his age and his paintings reflect not the simple, symmetric
flower works of a hundred years earlier, but ornate compositions that light
up the Late Baroque and early rococo of the 18th century.
Southgate MT. Fruit Piece. JAMA. 2003;289(9):1079. doi:10.1001/jama.289.9.1079