Roses in Paintings
This part will cover the meat of the series, a time when roses were very popular in paintings.
Roses were often the main subject of paintings during the Realist (1840-1900) and Impressionist (1860-1900) periods. Paintings during these times were largely portraits, still-lifes, and landscapes. The names of the painters who painted during this time period are well known to us today, such as Renoir and Monet.
Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904) was by far the best known of the rose painters. He was involved with the up and coming Impressionist movement, but most of his works were purely Realist. He loved to paint flowers, especially roses. He would bring the flowers indoors to paint rather than paint outside. He was close friends with Manet, Whistler, Renoir and Monet. He painted such rose masterpieces as White Roses (c. 1878) and Roses and Fruit (1866). His roses and attention to detail were remarkable. You can purchase copies of most of his prints today.
Edouard Manet (1832-1883) Close friend to Fantin-Latour, Manet was bothered by a rare nerve disorder that made painting difficult for him. He is part of the Impressionist movement and his roses are bold, almost abstract-type painting, such as Roses in a Vase. His work was a combination of the Impressionist and Realist movements, as he didn't fuse the light with the blooms.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) We are all familiar with this mad genius of a painter who cut off his ear. His favorite floral subjects were irises and roses. He often painted just one or two blooms. His style is purely Expressionist in the early years, and Impressionist in later years, with the bold strokes of bright colors infused with light. His last painting, just before he committed suicide, was White Roses.
Claude Monet (1840-1926) Everyone should be familiar with Monet and his paintings of his famous gardens at Giverny. Considered the Father of Impressionists, his paintings are figures that are blurred just enough so you can get the feeling of the subject, yet the fine detail is lacking. Bright bold colors and an airiness that few have been able to copy make his paintings a favorite today.
Elise Bruyere (1776-1842) One of the few women painters during this time, she enjoyed painting flowers and roses. Her detail is excellent, and shows the Realist touch. Rose (1842) was not finished by her death and it was completed by Chazal.
Emil Carlsen (1853-1932) Emil was the main Impressionist painter from the United States. Although not as bold or liberal with detail as Monet, his works resemble Manet. He is best known as the painter of yellow roses.
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) Cézanne was one of the originators of cubism. He intentionally painted plants and objects with a flat look. He had a hard time painting flowers and fruit, as they didn't last. He painted everything else, then each flower independently. He used some roses but was better known for his tulips and geraniums.
Antoine Chazal (1793-1854) One of the finest detail-oriented painters during the Realist period. His roses, flowers and foliage appear to be real on the canvas. He was a student of Van Spaendonck. A good example is Summer Flowers With Pink Roses (1845).
Adolphe Monticelli (1824-1886) Another of the French Impressionists, he was largely ignored, but he was admired by Cézanne and Van Gogh. He is best known for his paintings of flowers and landscapes.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) By far the most prolific of all the floral painting Impressionists. He started painting roses on borders of plates, then eventually moved up to bouquets. He was influenced by Manet and Coubert, which can be seen in his earlier bouquets. From the 1870s, the rose became Renoir's favorite subject to paint. The Impressionists favorite flower, the chrysanthemum, eventually phased out roses.
In the last segment of this series, we will look at modern rose painters, those of the 20th Century.
Reprinted from the June 2000 issue of "Rose Ecstasy," bulletin of the Santa Clarita Valley Rose Society, Kitty Belendez, Editor. This article is an American Rose Society Award of Merit winner.
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