Flowers have always been one of the most popular subjects for painters. Flowers offer a plethora of color and form options in addition to their pure beauty. Their vivid blossoms have inspired artists for centuries, with many devoting their entire careers to creating reproductions of various botanical marvels, masterfully.
But why do people regard flowers to be attractive? Scientists believe that people acquired a preference for flowers because they indicate the presence of fruit nearby or at least in their minds. Others believe that that blooms’ harmonious colors, smooth curves and texture, and symmetrical forms captivate humans.
What are five famous floral paintings by master painters and what are current artists producing? Let’s take a look…You may be surprised!
Still Life with Flowers by Ambrosius Bosschaert (1617)
Because the aristocracy preferred religious and historical paintings, still-life painting was historically seen as an inferior type of art. During the 16th and 17th centuries, this slowly began to change with Dutch painters leading the way. Ambrosius Bosschaert was a Dutch still-life artist known for his love of painting bouquets of flowers with near scientific accuracy. And he didn’t just focus on florals, he was actually one of the first painters to paint bouquets
(Public domain via WikiArt)
14″H × 11″W
Acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas
I’m intrigued by the beauty and intricate folds of the petals of the rose and the gentle curve of the leaves. While the lines are exaggerated the colors draw the viewer in. This painting was a fun exercise in flowing the softness of a rose petal with the harsh contrast in light and dark.
22.33″H × 15″W
Oil based inks on BFK Reeves paper
An abstract interpretation of a morning glory I grew in my garden.
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Mary Cassatt – Lilacs in a Window, ca. 1880-83
An original founder of American Impressionism, Mary Cassatt frequently painted elements that stemmed from home life – mainly human figures. However, florals were added to her repertoire. This vibrant flower painting is an excellent example of the artist’s angular fluidity and skilled academic painting style. Experts think she painted this as a still life from her greenhouse near her studio.
(Public domain via WikiArt)
Crocus Minuet II
8″H X 10″W
Acrylic on canvas
Crocus Minuet II shows the first blooms of purple and white crocuses in the garden grasses against a wooden garden border. A dance of purple and white crocus burst forth from the first grasses of spring. Loose palette knife brushstrokes convey the energy of Spring as it conquers Winters quiet. ~Helena Kuttner-Giasson
Yayoi Kusama, Ready to Blossom in the Morning, 1989
Yayoi Kusama is one of my most favorite, master artists. She is known for her red bob haircut, mirrored “Infinity Rooms” and use of polka dots in her artwork. Using the polka dot theme, this famous floral painting evokes children’s art.
(Fair use via WikiArt)
18″H X 24″W
Photography printed on art paper
The ordinary and commonplace offer brilliant alternatives if one is ready to see the world through fresh ideas. I prefer to capture elements of everyday landscapes and showcase the potential. This digitally altered photograph originated as a small wedding bouquet that needed a little pizzazz . ~Joanne Scherf
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Vincent van Gogh – Still Life Vase with Twelve Sunflowers, 1888
Sunflowers are the subject of two independent series of Van Gogh’s oil on canvas paintings, and they are one of the most common motifs in his work. This particular painting entitled Still Life Vase with Twelve Sunflowers belongs to his Arles painting series created in 1888.
(Public domain via WikiArt)
Georgia O’Keeffe – Red Poppy, 1927
Creating over 200 exceptional flower paintings, Georgia O’Keeffe rejected the thought that her floral studies were symbolic representations of vaginas – which may seem strange to most admirers considering that her florals tend to offer sinuous lines that resemble vulva folds. This striking Red Poppy painting dating from 1927 is a perfect example of Georgia O’Keeffe close-ups.
(image via WideWalls)
36″H X 36″W
Photography printed on fine art paper
This is an image from a series of red poppies. A couple of years ago I saw a small bouquet of poppies at the Raleigh Farmers Market. The contrast between the red flowers and the white paper they were wrapped in caught my eye. I bought the flowers, put them in a vase, and a day or two later as the petals began to fall off I noticed that each flower began to develop a “personality”. I picked up my camera and did a portrait shoot over a few days as the petals continued to reveal the essence of each flower. These two poppies look like they are dancing to me. ~Debbie Lucas
60″H X 40″W X 1.5″D
Acrylic and collage on canvas
This gorgeous painting was initially created with an acrylic under-painting with collaged papers over the iris blossoms – including musical sheets, sewing patterns, and gift tissues- leaving some areas of the underpainting peeking through. Accented with metallic hues, the surface shimmers sumptuously. ~Shadia Derbyshire
What are your favorite paintings from this article and why?
This article was written by Andrea Bogart, founder and lead art advisor of Embrace Creatives.
For help finding the right artwork for your home or office, reach out to Andrea here. Interior professionals can request white glove, art consulting or custom pieces, easily.