Vegetation in Art

Vegetation in Art
Referring to plants, trees, and flowers, I will discuss artists and the landscape, pastoral, and rural scenes they capture for our imagination and enjoyment.

Agriculture in ancient Egypt included many types of grain for consumption and used in the production of bread, beer, and desserts.

Whether painted on vases or on the walls of tombs or inscribed on papyrus, sowing seeds, harvesting grain, and pulling flax are illustrated as a guide for the afterlife in Egypt.

Most of the Roman paintings that still exist are frescoes from the time of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Landscape painting followed the genre of portraiture.

Ancient Roman villas depict the abundance of flora and fauna during that period. Lush outdoor gardens were replicated in indoor mural paintings.

In the house of Livia Drusilla (wife of Emperor Augustus) in a Roman suburb, is found a wall painting with a wide range of identifiable species of plants.

In East Asian art, we see an appreciation for nature. Chinese temples were built on sacred mountains that were also a place of refuge for city dwellers.

During the Han dynasty (206 BC- 220 AD) mountains were a popular subject in art, whereas landscape painting became more diverse during the Tang dynasty (618-907).

Chinese ink paintings during the Muromachi period (1333-1573) were displayed in Zen temples and tearooms.

Korean landscape paintings of the Diamond Mountains are seen during the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910).

Both Chinese and Korean ink paintings influenced Japanese art themes of landscape, flowers, and bamboo during the 15th and early 17th centuries.

Dutch artist Jacob van Ruisdael famously painted not only the lushness in nature, but also dead trees. A painting where you can see both is "Forest Scene" (1655), found at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

English artist John Constable painted a rural scene on the river in "The Hay Wain" (1821). It can be seen at the National Gallery, London.

In the US from 1825-1870, multi-generational New York City based landscape artists such as Thomas Cole, Frederick Edwin Church, and Asher B. Durand were part of the Hudson River School.

Albert Bierstadt's "Autumn Woods" (1886) shows a wooded area, in splendid fall foliage, near two (2) rivers in NY state.

Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh painted one of the most recognized paintings in the world. "Starry Night" (1889) with its cypress trees.

Van Gogh's last painting may have been "Wheat Fields with Crows" (1889) with its blue sky, yellow-orange wheat, red path, and green grass.
I'd like to think that was Vincent's happy place.

Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map

Content copyright © 2023 by Camille Gizzarelli. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Camille Gizzarelli. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Camille Gizzarelli for details.