Watercolor and gouache
Sheet: 31.2 x 20.6 cm (12 5/16 x 8 1/8 in.)
Nancy F. and Joseph P. Keithley Collection Gift 2020.130
In 17th-century Holland, some tulip bulbs were as expensive as a stately Amsterdam canal house.
This image of a tulip was made as part of a tulip book used as a grower’s marketing tool during the so-called tulip mania, a speculative bubble in 17th-century Holland, when ten tulip bulbs could cost more than a stately Amsterdam canal house. The striations on the tulip, which were caused by a virus in the bulb, made it especially valuable. Pieter Holsteyn II was one of many artists in the Netherlands at the time who specialized in botanical illustration.This tulip's Dutch name, inscribed on the sheet, means "white and red messenger."
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