By The Stroke of a Brush

“Oriental Poppies” Georgia O’Keeffe, 1928

Since the beginning of time, the composition of flowers have been depicted all over the world by the greatest of artists.  The lotus flower was discovered to be etched on Ancient Egyptian walls dating back as early as 79 AD.  Roses developed an important, religious symbolism as they were often painted with The Virgin Mary during the Gothic Era from 1200-1400 AD.  During the Renaissance, flowers were associated with mythological icons.  By the 18th Century, a floral still life trend began with painters in France, and continues to be celebrated to this day.  On canvas, artists have relished in floral blooms, the contours of their petals, and the movement of their shape.  They are a vision with the innate ability to appear to emerge, pop, droop, bloom, explode, float, swim and even sleep in some of the most celebrated paintings worldwide.  With the stroke of a brush, it is possible that the way flowers are arranged and the way they appear in paintings, just as they appear in real life, may evoke emotion.  After all, a flower is a living, breathing thing.  Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Georgia O’Keeffe, Hokusai, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Henri Fantin-Latour, and even Andy Warhol, have all portrayed them in various ways from American Modernism, to Surrealism, pop art and everywhere in between.  Let’s explore this fascinating and historical phenomenon in some epic works of floral art…


by Bernadette Lords