Count to 10 and I’ll hide. Come find me…
Can you see me? I am hidden in plain sight.
I’m there, but I’m not. I have become part of the greater whole, the whole bouquet.
When you look at anything there is a hidden secret. A meaning, a story.. whisperings of memory. Sometimes it is possible to read it. Sometimes you have to live with the mystery.
I fell in love with symbology through flemish portraits of exotic flowers. I loved their immortal quality. The endless bloom before me. I adore flowers and keep them long after they have curled and their scent has dissipated. The more I looked, the more I saw. Little insects were hiding behind leaves or munching on a petal. Butterflies swam beneath fronds and snails crawled at their glacial pace across the bottom of the canvas. Fruit, freshly picked, emerged from shadows and teased my senses. Eyes wide, I became privy to the secrets, to the message that was hidden in plain sight.
The perception of insects was also often coloured by the taste in early seventeenth century dutch culture for allusions to the brevity of life
Brevity of life is the prominent focus for a Vanitas painting, especially those of the floral still life theme. It serves to remind us that time is limited. Time is grand. It is our greatest commodity – use it wisely.
The inclusion of insects was used to remind viewers to muse on death in order to really experience a life greater fulfilled. These paintings hung in the houses of the nouveau riche, the merchant class. Beauty was desired, however the symbolic meaning within the painting was the primary use and a daily reminder to the viewer. The visual language was the essential depth of a painting, not merely its beauty.
Think about how this translates to us now. To how we adorn ourselves as the painter did the canvas with paint. What message do you want to communicate? How do you want to present yourself in the world to achieve what you want? The visual language is the essential depth of an outfit, not merely its beauty. You are beautiful, that is a given. The depth you imbue is your prerogative.
I remind you now, to muse, to appreciate every second. Be whatever you want to be, your time is yours to dictate and no one else’s.
Et voila. The Reveal:
Painter, Jan Davidsz. de Heem, stole my heart with his brush. These paintings reveal the symbology of transience and vanitas in the most spectacular fashion. My breath and hours are taken away by them as I gaze. The style of his more ornate works is called Pronkstilleven (Dutch for ‘ostentatious’, ‘ornate’ or ‘sumptuous’ still life). They are a sumptuous delirium. I fall willingly.
A triumphant painting for me lies in its sensory affect. I can smell, touch, taste, hear and see all that is within the canvas. Dive in my lovelies…
Jan Davidsz. de Heem
‘Vase of Flowers’ 1660
From the collection of Baron Lionel Nathan de Rothschild
Jan Davidsz. de Heem
Still Life with Flowers in a Glass Vase, 1650 – 1683
Indulge in your own immortal garden here:
Jan Davidsz. de Heem Print
… and another print! I can never bear to only have one.!
Perhaps a tapestry is more your taste?