This 17th-century still life of flowers is still utterly captivating.
Aluxuriant mix of roses, tulips, carnations, honeysuckle and hydrangeas glow against velvety black in this still life painted by Dutch master Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606–1684). Aptly titled Still Life with Flowers in a Glass Vase, the oil on copper work (54.5x36.5cm) is typical of de Heem, who was famed for his virtuosic studies of flowers. It epitomises the focus of 17th-century Dutch artists: capturing beauty in the everyday. Look closely enough and you can see insects clambering over the flowers, a discoloured petal and droplets of water. This is just one of 78 works appearing in Rembrandt and the Dutch Golden Age: Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum at the Art Gallery of NSW, Nov 11–Feb 18, 2018. Highlights include paintings by Vermeer, renowned for his quiet domestic scenes, and a room dedicated to Rembrandt, the genius of the era. artgallery.nsw.gov.au