If you have seen some of the gorgeous bouquets created by our talented artisan florists at Hanako Flower Shop, then you will have no doubt that our florists are true artists! But did you also know how much flowers and floral arrangements actually inspire art?
Flowers are often found in paintings and photographs, either as part of the background or as a focal point for the artwork. They can express almost all emotions, from love and happiness to sadness and loss, and their use by artists over the years has produced some of the most memorable images we know today.
The notion of using flowers in art dates back many centuries to Ancient Egypt, where the lotus had a tremendous significance and symbolised the sun and life. Floral designs were widely used in the Renaissance, where mythological paintings such as Botticelli’s Primavera often had the human characters surrounded by a shower of blossoms of different colours.
It was also about this time that still life painting became more popular where the flowers took centre stage. One of the most colourful and vibrant examples of this is Vomer’s A Vase With Flowers, painted in 1613 and is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Van Gough’s Sunflowers
It was probably during the late 1800s that flowers in art had their heyday, and most of this was driven by the impressionists and post-impressionists. One of the most obvious examples is Van Gough’s Sunflowers. The bright images and stylistic paintings certainly create some of the most iconic works in art history.
Initially, Van Gough hoped to sell one of his paintings for about 100 dollars in today’s money. However, you might be surprised to learn that there is more than one sunflower painting in existence. In 1987, an original sold for a staggering $40 million and is currently on view at the Van Gough Museum in Amsterdam.
Considered one of the greatest post-impressionist painters, Matisse often included flowers in his works.
Vase of Flowers is probably the most notable example, painted in 1923 and currently resides at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Painted while in Nice in the South of France, the brush strokes are bold but encompass the impressionist obsession with light and how it plays against different elements in a work.
As we move into surrealist and modern art, flowers still play a prominent role in works around the world. One of the most famous artists of the 20th century was Andy Warhol, whose stylistic images sell for millions.
He was often fond of including flowers in his works, and his series created in 1964 used the silkscreen process along with colour experimentation that was, at the time, considered a break from classic pop culture and gained him instant notoriety.
Finally, American artist Georgia O’Keeffe is another who used flowers widely in her works. Between the end of the 1920s and 1950, she painted some 200 pictures of different blooms. Her seminal work was Jimson Weed which, in 2014, fetched just over $44 million at auction. Vibrant colours characterise her images, often concentrating on one large bloom, leading many to hypothesise that they were linked in some way to female sexuality. O’Keeffe always denied this and was uncomfortable with the way here contemporary art critics often portrayed her images.