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!


Friday, June 28, 2019

Butterflies & How They Influenced Art

Last week, I went to Thanksgiving Point's Butterfly Biosphere with my sister and my nephew. I had never been to a butterfly biosphere and it was a super unique experience!

When I was young, my sister Donna got to go to Toronto with my mom and they went to a butterfly museum. She came back from the trip with a picture of her sitting next to the world's biggest butterfly and it looked so cool. I remember being so jealous that she got to do it! But in the end, I am super happy that I got to experience it for the first time with my sister, Donna, and my nephew, Theo. 

It was so fun going with Theo because he was so vocal about everything, even though he is only two years old. He was a little scared, but he also kept saying they looked so beautiful (queue heart melting). 

Before going, I did a bit of research on what colors butterflies are attracted to. It isn't hard to guess the colors, but I wanted to be sure. The colors are yellow, white, pink, purple, red, & orange. Blue and green are actually their least favorite! Which makes sense since they are usually collecting nectar from flowers of in those color options! Once I figured out a good color, I planned my outfit accordingly (of course!). 

So I chose yellow, which was super convenient since I am on the color yellow for my Instagram feed! I definitely created this expectation in my mind of butterflies landing all over me, LOL. While one can dream, it was much calmer in there than I anticipated! There was less of the butterflies landing on me & more of me trying to get landed butterflies to walk on my hand (which actually worked & is totally safe for the butterflies). 

After my little trip to the Butterfly Biosphere, I wanted to learn more & was also thinking about how beautiful and inspiring the butterfly is! 

While I could share many facts about butterflies, I thought it would be more fun to show butterflies in art! :) I won't go into much detail, because this post has already gotten a bit long, but I do want to share so fun things that I like!
First off, Butterflies showed up in art artifacts over 4,000 years ago but really took form in art in later years. For centuries, butterflies were a symbol of sunshine, beauty, freedom, & even the cycle of life. We start to seem more strong butterfly use in the artwork of the 16th century, like this Pieter Bruegel painting that I just saw when I was in Brussels: 

Fall of the Rebel Angels by Pieter Bruegel (1562): you can see butterfly wings on a rebel angel - the swallowtail butterfly species in particular. It is very interesting that a rebel angel would have butterfly wings! 
Even though butterflies were considered a symbol of great things like freedom, certain butterfly species were considered a bad omen. Such as the Red Admiral Butterfly, which was considered a symbol for "evil" and since red was considered a dangerous color in nature. So it is not surprising that Bruegel gave a rebel angel butterfly wings. 

Another beautiful painting with butterflies is this painting by Italian artist Dossi Dossi called Jupiter Painting Butterflies, Mercury and Virtue (1522-24). 

Here you can see Jupiter painting the butterflies on the canvas. Because he is a God, the butterflies fly off the canvas as he brings them to life using his paintbrush. 

During the 18th century, Butterflies became a big symbol for the cycle of life & was thought to be a reassurance of an afterlife. Like the caterpillar, we are trapped on this earth. We live a short life and eventually die. When we die, we are put into a coffin, or chrysalis, when it comes to the butterfly. Just like the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis and is reborn, we too can be reborn in heaven. 

During the 19th century, especially for impressionists & post-impressionists, butterflies remained a symbol of beauty. Vincent Van Gogh did a few paintings with butterflies and I find them all to be captivating. 

Two White Butterflies (1889)

Grass and Butterflies (1889)

Butterflies & Poppies (1889)

These three are fun depictions of the innocence of butterflies & I love the simplicity in the way that Van Gogh portrayed them. I also think the last painting might be a new Van Gogh favorite! 

I also love the colors in this Salvador Dali painting: 

Landscape with Butterflies (1956). There isn't much known about this painting, but it does have Dali's surrealist style with the glowing butterflies and this dream-like setting. 
Lastly, Damien Hirst created this extravagant artwork called I Am Become Death, Shatterer of Worlds (2006), in which he comments on the brevity of life (a concept that has been around in art for a very long time), and does so by creating his art using thousands of dead butterflies. From the website: 
“I’ve got an obsession with death … But I think it’s like a celebration of life rather than something morbid" - Damien Hirst.  
"The ‘Kaleidoscope’ paintings reference the spiritual symbolism of the butterfly, used by the Greeks to depict Psyche, the soul, and in Christian imagery to signify the resurrection. The works are reminiscent of, and even sometimes directly copy stained glass windows "
This interesting reference shows the depth of the butterfly, and the long history of interpretations through the years.

Lastly, I want to share one of my favorite custom designs from the past. I always think of this when I think of butterflies in art and it was just in the Hunger Games movie! 

I hope you enjoyed my random post about butterflies! I have been so behind on all my blog posts, so I hope this makes up for lost time! :) 



Monday, May 20, 2019

Let's Catch Up.

Hello guys! Please ignore the date on my last post, because I am too embarrassed about how long it has been since I posted on here! Let's catch up!

I am going to get real real with you guys here and just share that my mental health recently has not been great. I usually wouldn't share this, but I am trying to be more vulnerable with how I feel! It has been a tough few months! I have had a decent amount of heartache since January and I have not been feeling the the most creative, to be honest! I lost my Grandpa and my Uncle Will in the last few months and it has really taken a toll on me. I honestly have been in such a dark place these past few months, I kinda am surprised I am starting to feel better. These two losses, and another heartbreaking loss that my company experienced, have brought up a lot of pain and fear from my past experiences and has really pushed me back a few steps on my journey to happiness. I am working on my mental health more these days (thanks to therapy and medication), and I think I am starting to finally feel creative again. I hope that this venerability helps you and please reach out to me if I can help you in anyway! :)

Here is a quote that I love by Brene Brown - a friend at work introduced me to her, and I have been trying to listen to her guidance more.

Aside from being a bit down in the dumps, I have also been working super hard at my job. It honestly has really helped pull me out of my rut sometimes and gives me purpose! Did I tell you guys that I do Merchandising at in their Jewelry & Accessories category? It is super fun! It has been quite busy there, and that has been pretty good for my brain, honestly!

While it has been a bit difficult to stay upbeat and happy like I want to be, I did have an opportunity to recharge on another trip to Europe! I am so so blessed to have this opportunity and I always feel so great when I am there! My husband Michael has been such a great support to me, and I am so lucky that I have had him through all that I have gone through & am going through. It was so nice to getaway to Europe with him and to just enjoy it all together.

I also have so so many cute pictures to share, and hopefully I get them all out to you soon! I want to finish sharing my first Europe pictures (and the history topics I have planned) with you guys first! On this last trip, however, we went to Belgium and the Netherlands! It was amazing! :)

With all this stuff going on, I have only had barely enough time to create content for my Instagram! If you haven't checked that out in awhile, here is a link. I have been doing this color themed feed thing and it has been super cool to create, but also a bit stressful and exhausting!

But honestly, I am so so sorry that I have been slacking in my posts! I will try to get back to sharing weekly! Life has been hectic, I haven't really been myself, and I hoping that things are finally slowing down for me! I have a few fun things coming up & a lot of things to share that I have been neglecting all this time! Hopefully you guys will forgive me, lol!

As always, I am open to any blog topics and would love for you to comment below! :)



Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Château de Versailles

Château de Versailles is probably my favorite place on earth. When my therapist was asking what my "happy place" is, I immediately thought of Versailles. When I was in high school, I got to go to Versailles with my mom and sister and it was the best experience. I love Versailles for many reasons, but my I think it is mostly because I am completely obsessed with Marie Antoinette. When I first started writing this post, it started to get a bit too focused on Marie Antoinette, and so I am actually going to omit her from this post (to the best of my ability). She is so AMAZING and has so many complex things surrounding her, that I am going to have to write a completely separate post about her sometime in the future.  

Looking out from inside.
Ok, back to the Château. The Château, as some of you may know, first started out as a hunting lodge that was built for King Louis XIII. The King loved to hunt, and loved the surrounding forests near the lodge. The King then made it into a Château after his own mother, Marie de Medici (have you heard of her? she is an interesting character in European history), tried to take over his throne and so he sent her into exile and built himself a small Château.

Aww cute little Château... haha but this was the one built by King Louis XIII in 1630-34
King Louis XIII's son, King Louis XIV (the infamous Sun King), grew up going to the hunting lodge and loved the area of Versailles. When he became king, he decided to expand the Château in 1661. The Sun King was obsessed with decadence and relaxation, and therefore he wanted the Château to be a perfect place for those two things. The Sun King expanded the wings of the original Château, added the elaborate garden system that is still at Versailles today, and many elaborate details that make the Château so beautiful. The King then started a second expansion in 1678, which included the addition of the Hall of Mirrors and the Grand Trianon. While they were still in the process of adding the the Château, the Sun King declared Versailles to be his principal place of residence and moved the entire court from the Palais des Tuileries in Paris to the Château in Versailles. 

The Château during the first expansion in 1661. 
During the short time the the Sun King lived in the palace permanently before his death, he established a strict court system that was followed by his successors until the French Revolution. I learned about this when I was a TA in Art History at BYU and loved the text from Jacques Levron that details the interesting day in the life of the Sun King. If you watch the movie, Marie Antoinette - you can see examples of the ritual -- here is one of how the Royals were dressed (sorry for the video quality): 


These rituals in the video may seem bizarre, but they were actually part of the culture that the Sun King built at Versailles. Even the Sun King's own brother had to have the King’s permission to sit in his presence. 

Example of the Sun King emblem all over Versailles 
The Château de Versailles stayed relatively the same after the Sun King died and had some adjustments under each King after it, like the addition of Marie Antoinette's famous Hamlet in 1774. When the French Revolution started, there was the famous Women's March on Versailles in 1789, which lead to the Royal family being forced to return with the mob to Paris. Once the Royal family left Versailles, it was closed (but not before the mob ransacked it and destroyed many parts of the palace), especially any emblems representing royalty. All the important art was moved to the Louvre, and all the remaining art, furniture, mirrors, etc. were sold off in auctions.  

When Emperor Napoleon came into power, he almost chose to live at Versailles but changed his mind when he considered fixing all the damage that was made during the Revolution. Instead, he decided to refurnish and remodel the Grand Trianon and use it as summer vacation home. Below is a picture of me at in a corridor at the Grand Trianon and outside of it. I actually love the pink marble that the Grand Trianon has, it is so pretty! 

Another interesting part of the Château de Versailles is the Hall of Battles that was commissioned by Louis Philippe who came into power after the French Revolution of 1830. In his grand hall, there are large, almost life size, paintings of the great French battles from 496 to 1809. The hall is absolutely beautiful and I actually loved looking at the paintings as well. 

Louis-Philippe opening the Galerie des Batailles, 10 June 1837 (painted by François-Joseph Heim)

Speaking of Halls, one of my favorite parts in the Château de Versailles is the Hall of Mirrors. It would be so amazing to go there and be the only person in the room. Usually when you go it is full of tourists, which isn't so bad if you just imagine that you are hearing all the people at a 18th century masquerade ball instead, haha. Imagine how beautiful it must have been all lit up and everyone dancing in their beautiful gowns, if only... 

A masked ball in the Hall of Mirrors(1745) by Nicolas Cochin

Well, I think I probably have given too much information for this post, haha! I really gotta get better at shortening them, but I guess that is what my instagram posts are for! I hope you enjoyed reading this, I know I loved writing it! If you are ever looking for a movie to watch, I recommend Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola. It is AMAZING. It has great shots of Versailles and has the prettiest costume design!