Private collection, New England
Johannes de Bruyn made his debut as a flower and fruit still life painter in the 19th century in Utrecht. de Bruyn was a student of the painter G.J. van Hulstyn.
In our pair of flower still lifes, Cornelis Johannes de Bruyn has depicted two bouquets of colorful flowers set in a stone niche. They are delicate, highly detailed, realistic pieces painted in the vein of seventeenth century Old Master works. Each bouquet is arranged in a low glass bowl on a small marble pedestal placed in the niche. The background shifts from light to dark gray, spotlighting the floral displays. Instead of tulips, extremely popular at the height of the Dutch tulip mania, de Bruyn has depicted roses in full bloom. The open rose blossoms, painted in a sparkling white color, face the viewer at the center. These roses, interspersed with greenery and other contrasting small blue and yellow flowers, reach out and away from the heart of the arrangements. de Bruyn’s treatment of the vases in this pair of paintings is quite superb; the stems of the flowers can be seen through the thick glass and water, and the reflections of the window and the sunlight caught within the vases are wonderfully observed. de Bruyn adds small details, such as drops of water on the leaves, and a few leaves that are turning brown, effects that help create a realistic scene. Set against a simple background these are beautifully composed works that perfectly demonstrate de Bruyn’s exceptional handling of still life.