Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bouquet of Flowers in an Urn

From your friendly neighborhood art historian:
Today’s artwork is Jan van Huysum’s Bouquet of Flowers in an Urn, which was painted in 1724. This clever composition juxtaposes a variety of flowers, all of which appear to be in full bloom, with a number of insects such as different kinds of butterflies and ants.

Although the composition looks as if the flowers were placed aimlessly in a bouquet, in reality they weren’t. In fact, the different kinds of flowers shown here, normally bloom in different seasons throughout the year. Thus, it would have been impossible for Van Huysum to have painted this work in one go. Rather, each flower was painted as it became available, arranged within the composition according to the artist’s wishes.

Jan van Huysum’s interest in nature is evident here. Flower painters often had an interest in botanical studies and would spend hours upon hours studying, classifying and drawing each individual flower. Look at this detail! (Read more.)