Fresh Flower Rose Artistic Inspiration
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VII.

Rose Artistic Inspiration

Roses have inspired artists through the centuries, and appear in paintings as far back as 2000 BC. For the design of paintings and carpets roses were very important in Persia. A rose resembling Rosa sancta appears in the famous frescos painted on the walls of the cathedral in Ghent, Belgium.

During the 16th century, Dutch painters popularized the rose in their famous oil paintings. The most famous rose painter of all time is the 19th century Pierre-Joseph Redoute, who was commissioned by French Empress Josephine and painted over 170 of her roses. Reproductions of his botanical art can still be found in mass produced 20th-century framed prints.

The cultivation of rose gardens dates back to 35 A.D. where the Roman writer Virgil wrote about the cultivation of roses. During the Middle Ages, the Crusaders brought with them roses from the Middle East, and imported roses were kept alive in monastery gardens.

The renewed interest in the garden rose came with 19th century Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. Her dream was to establish a rose garden in Malmaison,

 

containing a collection of all the roses of the world. Although France was at war with every country in Europe and isolated by blockades, arrangements were made by England and France to bring to Josephine's garden newly discovered roses from China.

Rose Artistic Inspiration

This garden became the setting for Pierre Joseph Redoute's work as a botanical illustrator. In 1824, he completed his watercolor collection "Les Rose," which is still considered one of the finest records of botanical illustration.
Through the ages, the rose has indeed inspired the works of many an artist. Literature is filled with the analogy between the rose and sentiments of love. Some of the most famous lines are perhaps from Robert Burns’ poem, “A Red, Red Rose”:

"O, my Luve's like a red, red rose,
That's newly sprung in June.
O, my Luve's like a melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune."

     
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