Over the centuries many artists have been compelled to paint flowers due to their alluring beauty. But this is not the exclusive reason for artists to choose to paint flowers. Flower symbolism has been used in paintings over many years to convey specific meanings or moods.
Cherry Blossoms have been painted for centuries by Japanese artists because of their special significance. The flower blooms for three weeks of the year in Japan and during this time it’s magnificent beauty seizes the Japanese landscape. Within a short period of time the beauty begins to fade as the blossoms fall. The fleeting beauty of the cherry blossom represents the brief nature of life. The color of the blossoms and their delicate form symbolizes simplicity and purity.
Vincent Van Gogh has immortalized the Sunflower through his paintings. Sunflowers held deep meaning for Van Gogh. He painted a series of sunflowers at different stages of life. The vibrant yellow color of the sunflower in full bloom symbolized happiness. However, the contrasting arid browns used to paint the wilting sunflower symbolized death. By using the sunflower he was able to convey the natural cycle of life and death.
Georgia O’Keefe is most famous for her floral artwork. Her paintings were vibrant and her perception of flowers was exceptional. Many critics believe that O’Keefe’s paintings of flowers are symbols of sexuality. Some believe she has used the flower to convey the cycle of life. However, this analysis of her work was never confirmed by Georgia O’Keefe herself. She simply wanted to give people the opportunity to appreciate the true beauty of flowers. She recognized that most people do not have time to look at a flower and truly appreciate its beauty. So she painted the flower with bold colors to show them the wonder of nature. She once said “I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers”.
Salvador Dali was a very talented artist and was able to express himself through surrealism. His interpretation of the flower would be painted in his own unique style. “Female Figure with Head of Flowers” uses flowers to represent the distaste Dali had for the rich people who favored the Surrealist group. Roses appear in a number of his paintings. He used the rose to represent a female sexual symbol.
For Claude Monet, water lilies had deep meaning. At first he used water lilies to explore the effects of light on nature throughout the day. After the death of his second wife, Alice Hoschede, he created The Grandes Decorations. These paintings symbolized the love they once shared and the wonderful relationship they had together. He used the reflections of the water lilies to emulate the love he had for Alice. The enormous canvases cover two oval rooms to signify the eternal love Monet shared with Alice.
These are just some examples of how artists have used floral art to represent certain moods, thoughts and feelings.