As we go into the month of April, we’re entering a season marked by the official blooming of nature and Easter celebrations. Easter flowers like lillies, sunflowers and tulips are greatly loved and appreciated symbols of the holiday, marking new beginnings and the season of Spring. In today’s article, we’re honoring Easter by learning about the historical and modern use of flowers in art. Let’s pick some flowers.
Historically, tulips in art symbolized wealth, prosperity and trade. As time changed, so did their meaning and characteristics. Renaissance artist Jan Brueghel the Elder painted large bouquets to achieve a grand floral design with scientific precision and colour technique, in which tulips were used to bring the more rare flowers together in the composition.
In the second half of the 1730s, tulips became massively relevant as they grew popular in the Netherlands. Not only were tulips the main flower painted in the first 40 years of the 17th century, but they were also an essential element of almost every flower bouquet both in art and households and people were going to lengths to collect uniquely coloured tulips for themselves. 1635-1637 is seen as the era of the “tulip mania” and tulips still haven’t lost their charm today as artists still choose to paint them generously in abstract paintings and minimalist artworks.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted the famous “Tulips in a Vase” to celebrate beauty and life by portraying vibrant and deep-colored tulips in Impressionist art fashion. As symbols of eternal love and life, these flowers are never taken for granted as important parts of the Spring garden.
Tulips come in a range of colors, all meaning something different and offering a unique story. While white tulips represent heaven and newness, pink symbolizes affection. Different colored tulips are used on different occasions to convey whatever the heart desires to say, for example it’s known to give yellow tulips to friends and pink ones to lovers.
You can’t speak of water lilies without thinking of Claude Monet. The last 30 years of Monet’s life consisted of a desire for depicting water lilies with fluidity and seamlessness, thanks to Monet a new period started to take over the art world. As an observer of nature and romantic thinker, Monet painted gardens and flowers as magnificent and full of life as he thought they should be while working in harmony with the realities of natural light and movement.
Read more about painting nature and use of color theory
When we look at his water lilies, we see similar patterns in space and composition as well as the interacting colours. Purples and blues are used to portray natural lights reflected in the water while dark blues are used to define shadows from the surrounding nature.
Monet said his goal was “the illusion of an endless whole, of water without horizon or bank”. In the painting Blooming Lake, Kiannu has also attempted to eternalize her motive: “I invite you to enjoy a rare experience of capturing the memory of the lake blooming. It is known that one flower of the lake lily blooms for four days only, and this is my attempt to make this moment eternal”.
In the art world, a rose was the “enslaver of hearts” and always at the center of interest. The rose is a messenger of many things and a popular flower in the realm of symbolism, but most of all it’s been a sign of romance. In Vanitas art, a rose was a common motive and moral/religious metaphor among those signifying fleeting mortality and vanity: “painted roses spread no seductive fragrance, but nor will they ever wilt and die”, in terms of Vanitas art it meant that sensual pleasures only existed on the expense of inevitably dying out.
Roses have been depicted in art to capture the essence of love, privacy and exclusivity. In medieval and early Renaissance art, the “enclosed garden” seen in Sandro Botticelli’s work used thornless roses to refer to Virgin Mary’s conception as the sinless Mother of God.
In Rose rosse riflesse, a piece of figurative art, Gi LaPorta describes the rose as a flower that illuminates with light, reflecting all its beauty on the wall. “Each of us needs sap to shine and when that happens, a mirror enhances our beauty”, the artist writes.
These are just some of the flowers that we picked from the Gallerima garden, but there are many more flower artworks to appreciate in our online art gallery: