The daughter of a professor of anatomy and botany was one of the most sought-after still-life artists of her time. In view of her talent, Rachel Ruysch was apprenticed to Willem van Aelst, which was highly unusual for a woman at the time. On this painting, she has arranged a bouquet of flowers casually in a glass vase. Several small creatures, including a butterfly, a caterpillar and a dragonfly, enliven the flower arrangement. The zoological interest appears to complement the botanical one. The idea of transience, and the fact that the magnificent flowers portrayed here will wither and decay, recedes into the background.