It’s no wonder why so many people are fascinated by, if not addicted to, orchids. This is not at all surprising. Orchids come in many variations when it comes to size, color, and even the shape of the leaves and the flowers. We all know that orchids are beautiful. What you may not be aware of is that they actually have a deeply rooted history, making orchids a very popular subject for artists across the many periods in history, and all over the world.
Traces of Orchid Popularity in Art Throughout History
The main reason why artists in history used orchids in art, especially during the time of the Roman Empire, was because this type of flower symbolized fertility, prosperity and civic rebirth. We know Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar as two of the strongest and famous leaders in the history of the Roman Empire.
That period in history is when we can trace back the earliest depiction of artists featuring orchids in their masterpieces. It was during the rule of these two Roman leaders that orchids were used in art. It was present in Julius Caesar’s reign when he built the Roman Temple of Venus Genetrix. Orchids were also manifested in the huge stone pillar Ara Pacis, along with many other plants. This was erected by Augustus during his reign in 9 BC.
In the Eastern Hemisphere, particularly in China around 551-479 BC and during the time of the great Asian philosopher, Confucius, the orchid called lan in Chinese, was also very popular during this era. Lan is identified as the cymbidium orchid. It was not only through art that this flower was greatly used, but it was also very popular among philosophical and literary works. The cymbidium orchid in particular was used to represent patriotism, especially those men with a strong sense of integrity, yet were unrecognized. It also symbolized loyalty and friendship.
The use of orchids in art faded during the times when Chistianity flourished and was at its peak. This was because the orchid was also closely associated to the symbols of paganism and sexuality. Given that the Greek origin of the word orchid is orchis, meaning testicles, the proponents of Christianity back then didn’t approve of using it anymore. Orchids were used again in art as a symbol of beauty during the Renaissance.
Orchids in Artwork or Businesses
There are many artists who have a passion for making orchids as the subject in their paintings. Enrico Coleman for one, was an Italian painter, who was a British national at the same time, became popular because of his orchid paintings. He was also a collector of the flower.
Nowadays, there are many modern painters who can make their orchid paintings available through specific groups and organizations online who feature painters of this flower and even make it available for sale.
Today, art has become more than just paintings. Exhibits are actually done to feature the different varieties of orchids in almost all parts of the world. Now, more than ever there have been lots of ways where orchids are used in artwork and businesses. In fact that there thousands of orchid collectors and enthusiasts all over the world; people have begun to create something out of the beauty of orchids.
Even some businesses use the orchid as their inspiration. For example, check out this website of a business in Hawaii. Art and Orchids Bed and Breakfast This is a place for people who love art and tropical gardens. They’ve found a great way to combine both of these aspects in an environmentally friendly way. There’s even a room for rent called the Orchid Room.
Truly there’s no end to the ways that you can incorporate orchids into your artwork, business, or even your life. Whether you’re a painter, a collector, or just an orchid enthusiast, there are groups and organizations that you can join to become part of the passion for this flower.
Are you an artist who loves to paint orchids? Or have we inspired you to paint orchids? Tell us about it by leaving a comment below.
For some beautiful artwork, check out these orchid prints now.