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  • Writer's pictureVishakha

What Do Different Paintings of Flowers Represent in Art?

Paintings of flowers have been around us for centuries. They have been an integral part of art and have helped many artists convey various different emotions throughout history. We all know roses are used to express love and passion, but what about lilies orchids, or other flowers that you see? Be it the famous sunflower painting series from Vincent Van Gogh or Monet's water lilies, they have been a medium to tell stories and for the artists to leave their marks on the art scene for eternity.

Let's take some time today to understand what some of the most popularly used flowers represent in art.


Claude Monet's Water Lily Painting

  • Orchids

Orchids have been used to represent luxury, and splendor in the art for centuries. If you take references from different cultures they are also a representation of fertility, beauty, and elegance. Georgia O'Keeffe, also known as the ‘Mother of American Modernism’, created over 200+ flower paintings and is known for some of her best orchid paintings.

  • Lily

Lilies have often been associated with mythological paintings of flowers and they carry a religious significance for different cultures too. For example, white lilies are seen as a symbol of purity and modesty and are a representation of the Virgin Mary. On the other hand, Monet painted water lilies to represent his love for the flowers. He saw them as a natural bridge between water, the garden, and the sky.

  • Lotus

Lotuses have always been looked at as a symbol of purity and perseverance in paintings of flowers. Since it grows from the mud and yet manages to retain its beauty without getting any dirt on it, it has become a symbol of chastity. If you take references from Asian art, it has been a symbol of birth and rebirth because a lotus opens its petals and sunrise and closes with sunset. Two artists who made famous lotus paintings include Claude Monet and Martin Johnson Heade for his Lotus Blossom.

  • Baby's Breath

Baby's breath is one of the most marvelous flowers to look at and is often represented as a symbol of purity, hope, new beginnings, and good luck. This symbolism is what made these flowers such a common choice for baby showers and wedding bouquets. In some cultures, these flowers are used as gift items for new mothers to bring good luck to them and their newborns. It is also how the flower got its name.

  • Carnations

These are some of the most commonly used flowers at funerals in many cultures. Due to this reason, they have become a symbol of death, grief, and loss. Artists have used it in different meanings throughout history. Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose is a famous carnation painting by artist John Singer Sargent.

Flower Art Paintings and Their Representation is Diverse

Paintings of flowers have been around us for centuries and they will continue to be around us for long periods to come. While we have discussed some of the most common representations of flower art, you should also remember that different representations come from different cultures and demographics. Hence, it cannot be used as a universal representation for all artworks.

Representation of flowers also varies depending on their color, mythological associations, culture, and the characteristics of the flower itself. Finally, what impacts an artwork the most is how the artist wishes to use them in their work. Artists over time have taken the liberty to use different flowers in varying contexts and the true representation of that flower can only be understood with respect to that specific painting of flowers.


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