Flowers. It’s hard to think of something else that has inspired artists as much as these enchanting beauties. History is filled with examples of paintings and music that take inspiration from flowers, plants and herbs, often making use of them as symbols and metaphors. Sometimes, they are simply examined, praised or otherwise honored in a piece for their beauty, grace, strength and connection to the natural world. Many of our greatest painters have been moved to capture flowers in their work, exploring a blossom’s extraordinary beauty and mystery, while songwriters and performers have taken flower names for titles and used their qualities to stand in for human ones. Neaubauer’s Flowers thinks that this has never been more the case than for the rose, a flower that art and music have always been in love with.
When you look at something like Masquerade, for instance, it’s not hard to see why the simple, vibrant beauty of a rose wouldn’t entice every painter to try his or her hand at capturing it. Even Pop artists weren’t immune to the incredible pull of flowers as subject, as Andy Warhol proved in his 1964 Flowers prints, exhibited here in in Vienna’s Mumok Museum of Modern Art.
This is just one vivid example of still lifes and studies that elevate the rose and flowers in general. It’s the same in music. Edith Piaf’s La Vie En Rose is an iconic French ballad that has been covered by everyone from Dean Martin to Donna Summer. Bette Midler’s The Rose is another classic ballad that compares love to a seed that grows into a flower. And who could forget Poison’s Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Bret Michaels powerful lament over a love betrayed?
Flowers will always inspire artists of all kinds, just like they inspire us.