Balthasar van der Ast

Photo: Susan Cole

Balthasar van der Ast

Dutch, 1593/94 - 1657

Balthasar van der Ast was born in Middelburg, The Netherlands. Although the date of his birth is not recorded, legal action by his acting guardian and brother, Jacob, on 30 June 1618 and on 13 September 1619 indicates that Balthasar turned twenty-five (his maturity) around this time. Thus he was probably born between 1593 and 1594. He was orphaned when his father Hans, a wealthy widower, died in 1609. After his father's death he may have lived with his older sister Maria and her husband, the still-life painter Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573-1621). Van der Ast's paintings show the impact of Bosschaert's art, which he could have seen in his brother-in-law's studio. He seems to have accompanied Bosschaert when the couple moved from Middelburg to Bergen op Zoom and then to Utrecht.

In 1619 Van der Ast joined the Saint Luke's Guild in Utrecht. While there he probably trained Bosschaert's three sons after their father had died in 1621. He also taught Jan Davidsz. de Heem. In 1632 he moved to Delft and joined that city's Saint Luke's Guild. He and his wife, Margrieta Jans van Burn, whom he married in 1633, had two daughters, Maria and Helena. Van der Ast died in Delft in December 1657 and was buried in the Oude Kerk there. [This is an edited version of the artist's biography published in the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue]

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