Simon Verelst (Hague 1644 -1721 London)(attributet)
Verelst was born in the Hague and trained with his elder brother Harman (c.1643 – 1702) in the studio of his father, the portrait painter Peter Verelst.
Simon Verelst, known to posterity as ''the God of flowers'', was considered to be the most accomplished practitioner of that Dutch discipline to be working in London in the later seventeenth century from his arrival in London in 1669 to the advent of Jean Baptiste Monnoyer c.1690.
Compared with that of Monnoyer who espouses the exclusively decorative aspects of flower painting, the work of Verelst reminds us that flower painting had its roots in the vanitas tradition of still-life painting. Paintings such as the present example are certainly to be viewed as a spectacle, an apparently riotous profusion of blooms nonetheless meticulously harmonised for visual effect, but there are also elements intended to provoke more sober reflection, as much as they are intended to amuse. Thus, amid the wealth of roses, tulips and other flowers, we see small touches that appear at first to be indications of the artist's virtuosity. The droplets of water that are painted on the leaves and petals, the fallen petal upon the marble at the right and – especially – the housefly that is painted with such deceptive realism, as an exercise in trompe l''oeuil, crawling along the prominent leaf in the centre would all delight contemporary audiences as much as now.