Friday, July 19, 2019

17C Floras by Jan Brueghel II, (1601-1678) & Abraham Govaerts (1581-1642)

Jan Brueghel II, (1601-1678) and Abraham Govaerts (1581-1642) Flora Seated in a Wooded Landscape Surrounded by Flowers

Here, Flora, the ancient Italian goddess of flowers, is draped in luxurious cream & scarlet robes & contrasting with the blue landscape behind her. Set in a secluded wooded clearing filled with an astonishing variety of wild flowers, the classical subject matter blends with Flemish realism in the 2 rustic huts depicted on the hill at the right.

Flora is framed by flowers. At her left side, rests a myriad of luscious pink roses, narcissi, buttercups, violas, primroses & poppies; while on her other side, tulips & bluebells mingle together. Nestled in the lush grass next to a wicker basket overflowing with blooms are 2 small rabbits. Throughout the ages the rabbit has been a symbol of fertility & lust. Perhaps these rabbits allude to the licentious nature of Flora’s ancient Roman festival, the Floralia which was held in April & included theatrical entertainment featuring naked women.

Both Ovid & Lucretius describe the goddess Flora in their works. Lucretius, in his explanation of the origins of nature, De Rerum Natura, describes how Flora followed in the footsteps of Zephyr (the east wind) strewing his way with blossoms.1  Ovid, from whom Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) later drew inspiration for his Primavera (Uffizi Gallery, Florence), tells of Flora fleeing from Zephyr: "When he at length embraced her, flowers spilled from her lips; & she was transformed into Flora."2

Abraham Govaerts’ paintings typically incorporate mythological or biblical subjects within a mannerist landscape. Figures, in this case flowers, were often added by other artists.  Brueghel II & Govaerts frequently collaborated on works, particularly those with mythological subject matter. Govaerts arranged the landscape, & Jan Brueghel II painted the flowers. The tradition of lush flower painting was established by Brueghel II’s father, Jan Brueghel I (1568-1625).

¹ Lucretius, De Rerum Natura V.736-739.
² Ovid, Fasti V.193-214.
See original article plus more information here.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

17C-18C Goddess Flora by Rosalba Carriera (Italian artist, 1675-1757)

Rosalba Carriera (Italian artist, 1675-1757) Flora

Rosalba Carriera (Italian artist, 1675-1757) Flora

In Roman mythology, Flora (Latin: Flōra) is a Sabine-derived goddess of flowers - a symbol for nature and flowers (especially the may-flower). While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime, as did her role as goddess of youth. She was one of the fifteen deities who had their own flamen, the Floralis, one of the flamines minores. Her Greek counterpart is Chloris.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

17C Goddess Flora

1685-90 Lady as Flora, by Jan van Haesbergen

In Roman mythology, Flora (Latin: Flōra) is a Sabine-derived goddess of flowers - a symbol for nature and flowers (especially the may-flower). While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime, as did her role as goddess of youth. She was one of the fifteen deities who had their own flamen, the Floralis, one of the flamines minores. Her Greek counterpart is Chloris.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

16C Allegory of Ceres Goddess of Abundance (or Goddess Flora?)


1580 School of Fontainebleau Portrait of a Lady labeled as Ceres but looks like Goddess Flora to me...

In Roman mythology, Flora (Latin: Flōra) is a Sabine-derived goddess of flowers - a symbol for nature and flowers (especially the may-flower). While she was otherwise a relatively minor figure in Roman mythology, being one among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of springtime, as did her role as goddess of youth. She was one of the fifteen deities who had their own flamen, the Floralis, one of the flamines minores. Her Greek counterpart is Chloris.

Monday, July 15, 2019

18C Flora - Angelica Kauffman 1741-1807

Angelica Kauffman (French artist, 1741-1807) Flora

In Rome, her festival, the Floralia, was held between April 28 and May 3 and symbolized the renewal of the cycle of life, drinking, and flowers. The festival was first instituted in 240 B.C.E, and on the advice of the Sibylline books, she was also given a temple in 238 B.C.E. At the festival, with the men decked in flowers, and the women wearing normally forbidden gay costumes, five days of farces and mimes were enacted – ithyphallic, and including nudity when called for – followed by a sixth day of the hunting of goats and hares. On May 23 another (rose) festival was held in her honor.  Flora's Greek equivalent is Chloris, who was a nymph. Flora is married to Favonius, the wind god also known as Zephyr, and her companion was Hercules.  Flora achieved more prominence in the neo-pagan revival of Antiquity among Renaissance humanists than she had enjoyed in ancient Rome.