Monday, March 2, 2020


Spring is almost here, and I am feeling good enough to blog again, lol! I can't wait for the sun to come out, for the flowers to bloom, and for my winter blues to go away. Growing up, I have always loved Spring because my birthday is in March. However, in Utah, Spring is a fickle one and I always have to be patient when I am waiting for it to show up.

When I think about Spring, I think about FLOWERS. Some of my favorite floral artworks are Dutch still lifes. The Dutch would use these still lifes to bring joy and color to a room when the seasons were stealing the flowers away. Artists could preserve the color and happiness of Spring in one painting. However, they also would use these paintings to warn about vanity and the brevity of life. Either way, the images were beautiful and full of color. Here are some of my favorites:

Still Life with Bouquet of Flowers & Plums - Rachel Ruysch - 1704

A Flower Still Life - Clara Peeters around 1610
Isn't it great how the colors in this brighten up the black background? It is like Spring is bursting through Winter! I just love Dutch still life and want to add it all over my home, haha! It pairs nicely with a white wall - which I have many of, lol.

The name "Spring" did not get its name until the 16th century. For centuries, it was called Lent. This was during a time when they didn't have names for seasons. Then in the 14th century, they started calling it "springing time". It was called this because plants were "springing" from the ground. It eventually was shortened to "spring time" and around the 16th century, it was named Spring.  Isn't that neat? I love learning small things like this.

Primavera (1482) - Botticelli 
In Art, Spring is a fun subject. Often, the seasons were used as a way to help the symbolism in a narrative. For example, Adam & Eve were often depicted in Spring - the beginning of man - the beginning of the year. In Botticelli's Primavera (which means Spring), Botticelli depicts an allegory for Spring with a variety fo goddesses.

Spring (1573), Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
In a series that depicts the seasons as figures, Arcimboldo depicts the season of Spring using plants that that season grows. Arcimboldo would do this series over and over and was even commissioned by the Emperor Maxmillian II.

I had to put my photo here for a comparison of my portrait and the Arcimboldo portrait! I think both represent Spring pretty well. Do you agree? haha!

Almond Blossom (1890) - Vincent Van Gogh
This famous painting by Van Gogh is a perfect representation of Spring with its subject matter - blossoms - and with its bright colors. I love this painting and have it has a cover for my Kindle haha. Van Gogh really was a master of color.

I had so many paintings to share, but didn't have enough time or space to write about them all. I encourage you to look at some of these works if you want more enlightenment: Pieter Brueghel the Elder, and the calendar pages of Tres Riches Heures du duc de Berry You can also take time to find some favorites of your own. If you do, please send them my way! I would love to see.

There is so much to look forward to with Spring, and now I really can't wait after looking through some of my favorite Spring related paintings.  What is your favorite season? I really love all of them but Winter haha! Maybe I should move to California where Winter doesn't really exist, lol.

I hope you enjoyed my post about Spring! Feel free to comment any other topic ideas that you may have!



Saturday, July 20, 2019

Tulipmania: Art & Culture

When I see tulips, all I can think of is Tulipmania. You may think I am strange, but when we were in Holland, walking by the tulip fields, I wondered how much all these tulips would have cost to create these extraordinary fields. You will feel the same once you learn more about this interesting period in history! 

A 19th Century interpretation of Tulipmania - The Tulip Folly 1882 by Jean-Léon Gérôme
Tulipmania was a period when tulips were introduced to the Dutch Republic during the Dutch Golden Age (17th century). Due to the lucrative trading business of the Dutch East Indies Trade (one trip could yield 400% in profits), the Dutch started exporting the flower from the Turkey (where the flower was already a status symbol), and eventually, the flower grew in popularity because it was so exotic. However, there are quite a few outlandish stories about this period that make it seem way more interesting than it is, but I still find the real facts to be interesting! :) 

The period got its name because tulips increased in price rapidly and the tulips became a luxury good. The tulip market was such huge economic power, that it became a future market, as the tulip traders & florists would buy contracts from merchants at the beginning of the year for bulbs at the end of the season. This type of market business was new to the Dutch Republic. 

Dutch tulips growers would constantly be cultivating new strains of the tulip and would pay extraordinary amounts of money for the rare strains. The rarest tulip group was called Bizarden (pictured above in a Dutch catalog), which was a tulip with yellow or white streaks on a dark purple/red/brown background. This variety was the most exotic looking & therefore the most sought after. However, the tulip actually got this appearance from a virus (the mosaic virus) in the flower that caused the color to break in the petal & actually slowed down the tulip growth process. During the peak time of Tulipmania, a single tulip of the Bizarden style could be sold for 10 times the annual income of a craftworker! By 1636, the tulip bulb became the fourth leading export product of the Netherlands, after gin, herrings, and cheese

This tulip obsession in Dutch society was not loved by all. Interestingly enough, the Calvinist religious group created propaganda against tulip trade because they were worried tulip trade was going to lead to societal decay. They even fabricated a story of a man accidentally eating a tulip bulb because he thought it was an onion and so he was thrown in jail. They also created stories of foolish fisherman trying to use the tulip market to instantly become rich, which was also not true because only merchants and the rich were really involved in the tulip market. 

Vase of Flowers, 1660. Jan Davidsz de Heem 
In art, the love of the tulip is well documented. Dutch artists would create beautiful flower still life paintings that included the tulip. However, the use of flowers in still life art sometimes had an alternative meaning - the brevity of life & vanitas. Vanitas was a Dutch still life theme that warned against vanity because your life would eventually end. Flowers were one of the symbols for this because once they are cut, their life will quickly be ended. 

A Satire of Tulip Mania 1640. Jan Brueghel the Younger
Along with the pretty still life pictures that showed tulips, Dutch artists also enjoyed commenting on the tulip craze in the art. For example, Jan Brueghel the Younger created this painting of monkeys trading tulips to comment on the foolish merchants that were spending too much money on a flower. In the painting, you can see the monkeys in the upper-class dress and also see different stages of tulip mania. 

Wagon of Fools. 1637. Hendrik Gerritsz Pot
Another popular comment on Tulipmania can be seen in Hendrik Gerritsz Pot's depiction of the Flora's Mallewagen, which was a popular subject matter that criticized the tulip trade. Here, you see the foolish tulip traders abandoning everything for the tulips. Creating a flag dedicated to tulips & wearing tulips on their heads. The two-faced goddess for Fortune is shown, which also comments on how easily things will switch for these tulip traders. 

While Tulipmania was so big, it did eventually experience a crash in 1637. The prices regulated and extreme passion subsided. However, tulips are still popular in Holland. The tulip market is still a future market, and farmers are still developing new tulip strains today. 

I am thankful for the Dutch love of tulips because I got to enjoy the beautiful fields while I was there. If you go, do make sure you ask for permission before entering the fields! You can damage the bulbs, and the farmers work hard in their fields. Just remember the history of the Dutch tulip and know that one of those bulbs used to cost a lot of money, haha! 


Speaking of tulips, in fashion, there are tulip-shaped silhouettes & hems that mimic the style of the tulip! Do you know what I am talking about? I am now going to try a new feature in my blog posts where I find clothing items that are for sale & relate to the subject matter of my post! Here are a few: 

Cute Alice & Olivia dress with a tulip hem 

Cute little tulips on this graphic tee!

This Dutch Still Life inspired dress 

Cute Tulip Necklace 

Thanks so much for following along! If you made it this far in my post, you are awesome & deserve a tulip, haha! I have loved researching this and hope you enjoyed reading this! Did you know about Tulipmania? Let me know below!