Amsterdam’s painters – Willem van Aelst

Willem van Aelst was born inDelft in 1625 or 1626 and died in Amsterdam around 1683. He was a painter and painted still life.


Willem van Aelst was the son of a lawyer from Delft. He was taught to paint by his uncle Evert van Aelst, who painted still life.


From 1645 till 1649 Willem lived in France. Afterwards he travelled through Italy, where he painted at the court of Ferdinand II de Medici in Florence. He even got a gold medal from the Grand Duke of Florence for his services.


The Palazzo Pitti in Florence still has some still life paintings by van Aelst.

In 1657 van Aelst returned to the Netherlands and settled in Amsterdam.  He specialized mainly in hunting pictures. He often signed his works with the name Gullielmo, which is the Italian form of Willem. He developed into one of the most important and influential painters of still life in his time. Van Aelst taught Rachel Ruysch and Jan van Huysum.


Van Aelsts works are amongst other places found in Mauritshuis in Den Haag, in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.



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