Why are the tulips named after the painter?
The special play of colors in the flowers that’s what make the tulips special, the flames on the Rembrandt tulips look like a stroke of the brush of the master painter himself. The typical flamed color pattern turned out to be caused by a mosaic virus. The symptoms of this virus become (briefly) visible before and during flowering. Symptoms include: along the leaf margins a (mosaic) drawing of purple-red and green can be seen or a flower color refraction is visible on the flower bud. This was not discovered until 1928. The Rembrandt tulips that are currently on the market have a very different background, they were obtained through selection and not infected with a virus. They have the same appearance and color play in their petals as the tulips of those days.
Tulip Grand Perfection and Helmar are a good example:
Link with history
Rembrandt tulips are very popular because they make a link with the history of the tulip. This type of tulips was very popular and expensive in the 17th century. It’s popularity caused the tulipmania that raged from 1632-1637. During this period, the price of a tulip bulb became exceptionally high. A bulb of the extremely rare tulip Semper Augustus was worth 1.000 Dutch guilders in 1624, in 1637 this was 10.000 Dutch guilders.
It is striking that painter Rembrandt van Rijn did not paint tulips at all. ‘De anatomische les van Dr. Nicolaes Tulp’, which he painted when he was only 25 years old, on behalf of the Amsterdam surgeon, is indeed a well-known painting by Rembrandt, but it does not contain any tulips. The old Rembrandt tulips were used in still lifes by many other painters such as Judith Leyster.
Are you inspired? Check the Rembrandt tulips on our website: