Art and flowers are almost inseparable. Almost from the inception of art as a form of human expression, paintings of flowers have existed. Despite the history of flower paintings being long and numerous works hanging in galleries all over the world, we’ve narrowed things down a little. We’ve chosen just 5 flower paintings that for us stand out from the many many others.
And without further ado, here, in no particular order, are our five favourite paintings of flowers in history:
Flowers in a Crystal Vase
Artist: Édouard Manet Year: 1882 Location: National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
For many, Manet is thought to be the father of modernist painting. This classic work of pink roses and other colourful flowers in a vase combines his usual traits of soft brushstrokes to create an ethereal sense of light and shadow around the arrangement. However, we love this painting especially because of this beautiful interplay of light and dark colours.
Artist: Georgia O Keeffe Year: 1966 Location: The Met, NYC
If you think of Georgia O’Keeffe, you’ll probably think of flowers. The American painter is famed for her Iris series, featuring close-up interpretations of the petals of these dramatic flowers. However, we opted to choose perhaps one of the most striking of these beautiful oil paintings, Black Iris (sometimes known as Black Iris III). Overall, the delicate nature of the flower is juxtaposed by the darkness and foreboding of its shape and colour. It’s strangely powerful yet delicate at the same time.
Vase of flowers
Artist: Jan Davidsz de Heem Year: 1660 Location: National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
The oldest painting of flowers on our list comes from Dutch painter Jan Davidsz de Heem. This particular work really stands out for its amazing detail. The 1600s were, of course, a time when a photographic realism in art was highly valued. Naturally, this is reflected in this painting especially. We just love the attention paid to the striped colours of the lilies, the starkness of the white flowers against the dark background and the sense of wild beauty of this particular arrangement that the artist has captured perfectly.
Artist: Vincent Van Gogh Year: 1888 Location: National Gallery, London
Perhaps one of the most famous still life paintings around. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers series (This specific example is known as Vase with 15 Sunflowers) is beloved the world over and this particular work stands out to us especially. The amazing way that these stunning yellow flowers blend, yet pop against the yellow background with Van Gogh’s much appreciated post-impressionist style is something to behold.
Artist: Claude Monet Year: 1919 Location: The Met, NYC
We now go from a post-impressionist to a classical impressionist painting. The Water Lilies series is considered one of most important works of early impressionists, with Monet very much the father of the movement. In this 1919 work, there’s much to appreciate, such as the cloudy reflections, the green of the water standing out against the pink of the blooming water lilies floating on the surface. This, of course, is all brought to life with the flickering brush strokes that Monet is known and loved for.
These are only five of the amazing flower paintings from the history of art. We didn’t even get onto to some of the great, more recent works by the likes of Andy Warhol, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. What famous flower painting do you think should be on our list? Let us know in the comments.
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