Johann Baptist Drechsler (1756-1811) Still life with roses, birds, a peach and a butterfly Oil on panel

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Johann Baptist Drechsler (1756-1811)

Still life with roses, birds, a peach and a butterfly

 Oil on panel

Panel size: 21 3/4” x 16 3/4” Framed size: 27 3/8” x 22 3/8”

Signed 

Johann Baptist Drechsler was an outstanding artist and a founding figure of the Viennese school. He was one of the first to take a specialist interest in flower painting and inspired a number of subsequent botanical artists including Wegmeyr, Nigg, Petter, Hartinger, and Dogarth.

Drechsler’s Still life... is a wonderful representation of his oeuvre. The softly finished canvas showcases two of Drechsler’s stylistic trademarks, including his flare for bold color and deft attention to detail. The elaborate, yet controlled and naturalistic bouquet, contains an assortment of vibrantly colored flowers, including roses, a peach, a gold finch, and even a butterfly. Yet beyond these items’ obvious aesthetic appeal, the objects would have also held a great deal of symbolism for Drechsler and his contemporary audience. Indeed, botanical painting began in the Netherlands and in that country’s visual culture, directly rooted to Protestant traditions, a gold finch’s red markings would have represented the destiny of Christ and a peach would have symbolized life, death and resurrection. In all, Drechsler’s oil painting is a staggering accomplishment in the history of botanical art.

At the age of sixteen, Drechsler began painting flowers in the Vienna porcelain factory and rose to be the Director of Porcelain Design at the Vienna Academy in 1807. During the same period, Drechsler also established himself as a master of conventional flower painting. While some of his earlier works, including a pair of canvases which date back to 1783, can be viewed at the Muzeum Narodowe, Warsaw, the majority of Drechsler’s extant works were produced between 1790 and 1809