When it comes time to create art, both professional painters and toddlers with crayons look to the world around them for inspiration. Perhaps they notice the bold colors in a sunset and use these for an abstract painting, or maybe they look at human hands and attempt to accurately capture their form. Or they might look to one of the best subjects—flowers.
Artists of all kinds have turned to flowers for thousands of years for both inspiration and as a way to improve their skills. With thousands of different types of flowers, these beautiful specimens allow painters to practice techniques such as color development, shading, and layering. And perhaps that’s why there’s no shortage of flower paintings available in the world.
Whether you want to purchase some floral art to serve as a more permanent alternative to flowers for birthdays or are looking for inspiration for your own artwork, you can look to some of the most famous flower paintings for guidance. We’ve gathered a list of some of the most popular floral works, which highlight styles including impressionism, modernism, and surrealism.
Water Lilies by Claude Monet: Water lilies
Painted in 1906 by the Frenchman Claude Monet, Water Lilies highlights the beauty of these aquatic plants. Although Monet painted ponds and the accompanying landscapes for years, he chose to focus on the green lily pads and pink water lilies in this oil painting.
Still Life with Irises by Vincent van Gogh: Irises
Take a look at Still Life with Irises, and you may be struck by the stunning purple flowers set against a golden-orange background. But when you take a closer look, you can see obvious brushstrokes that seem to have been made in a frantic yet intentional manner. These details show how the way flowers are painted can convey meanings deeper than beauty alone.
Van Gogh painted Still Life with Irises while he was a resident at the Saint-Remy Psychiatric Hospital. Although he intended this flower painting to be a study in color, it also came to portray the boldness of life present even during seemingly dark times.
Vase with Twelve Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh: Sunflowers
That’s right, another van Gogh painting! Van Gogh painted flowers throughout his time as an artist, but the 1888 painting Vase with Twelve Sunflowers is perhaps his most famous flower painting. It depicts a dozen sunflowers of different styles and forms tucked into a vase.
Throughout his challenging life and struggles with mental health, van Gogh turned to the sunflower as a sign of pure beauty and hope. Perhaps this was because of the flower’s bright yellow color or the fact that they are always turning towards the sun and seeking brightness.
Amaryllis by Piet Mondrian: Amaryllis
This two-toned watercolor work features the bold primary colors of red and blue. Bright red amaryllis flowers emerge out of a light blue vase that is set against a bold blue background.
By creating this 1910 painting, Mondrian showed his desire to shift away from impressionism and towards Fauvism.
Bauerngarten by Gustav Klimt: Poppies, Daisies, Wildflowers
Also known as Flower Garden, this 1907 impressionist painting by Austrian Gustav Klimt shows how numerous colorful flowers can come together to create a masterpiece. Rather than focusing on the details of each bloom, Klimt highlights the bright colors of the blooms and how they both contrast and support one another.
The close-up and personal garden view is set in a lush green landscape, which makes the painting even more beautiful and charming. And the pyramid shape highlights Klimt’s use of color and pattern.
Red Canna by Georgia O’Keeffe: Canna Lily
Georgia O’Keeffe is known for large-scale flower paintings, many of which illustrated flowers from an up close and personal vantage point. Red Canna is one flower painting that displays this style. Upon first glance, the painting appears a bit abstract, but upon closer inspection it’s apparent it captures its namesake flower.
Red Canna features many elements of O’Keeffe’s signature style, including refined and invisible brushstrokes. It also features the natural elements and modernism style that O’Keeffe is still known for.
Meditative Rose by Salvador Dali: Rose
Dali is known for his surrealist style, often painting elements like clocks melting in the desert and highly imaginative works featuring deformed human and animal bodies. While Meditative Rose appears much simpler than many of his other paintings, it no doubt maintains his iconic surrealism style.
This painting features a simple, stemless red rose suspended over a barren desert landscape. While some would view the floating rose as the mysterious element of this painting, those who know Dali’s works ponder why the artists churned out this beautiful work rather than another mind-bending and slightly horrifying painting.
The Painter of Sunflowers by Paul Gauguin: Sunflowers
This flower painting pays homage to the painter of another work of art in this list. In 1888, Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh were living together in a home in France. During this time, Gauguin saw van Gogh paint many sunflowers, and therefore sought to capture his friend’s artistic talent using his own.
The Painter of Sunflowers was Gauguin’s way of capturing his friend’s appreciation for sunflowers as well as his talents as a painter. It displays van Gogh with a paintbrush in hand as he works on capturing his beloved sunflowers.
Still-Life of Flowers by Ambrosius Bosschaert: Roses, Tulips, Poppies
Dutch painter Ambrosius Bosschaert III, also known as Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, produced numerous floral still-life paintings during the Dutch Golden Age. Many of these famous paintings featured bright bouquets of flowers including roses, tulips, and poppies.
The 1614 Still-Life of Flowers features a woven basket filled with blooms including roses, daisies, and tulips. The basket sits on top of a table where a few loose painted flowers sit beside a butterfly and dragonfly.
Lilacs in a Window by Mary Cassatt: Lilacs
Mary Cassatt was born in the Pittsburgh region but spent much of her life in France. Although Cassatt didn’t complete many still-lifes in her days as an artist, Lilacs in a Window portrays her talent for doing so. This famous flower painting even prompts some to question why Cassatt didn’t paint flowers more often.
This oil flower painting portrays a simple yet stunning base of lavender and white lilac flowers sitting on a window sill. Cassatt’s painting captures the beauty of flowers picked fresh from the garden and presents an interesting vantage point of the viewer looking outside rather than in.
Flowers by Andy Warhol: Hibiscus
Yes, flowers can be pop culture! In 1964, Warhol took the hibiscus flower as his guide and put his iconic pop art style to work. Flowers is not a painting, but rather a lithograph—a type of print done with stone and metal.
The prints feature four simple and bright flowers sitting in a bed of textured green grass. This series of prints also features quite a dramatic backstory. Rather than using real flowers as his inspiration, Warhol turned to a photograph of hibiscus he found. When the photographer Patricia Caulfield found out about Warhol’s unauthorized use of the photo, she sued.
Hibiscus by Hiroshige: Hibiscus
Flowers have long held important meanings in Japan, where they can be used to convey meaning according to the Japanese language of flowers known as hanakotoba. Another big aspect of Japanese culture is the art of making Japanese woodblock prints, also known as ukiyo-e. Hiroshige was one of the most famous and talented ukiyo-e artists, and the 1845 Hibiscus displays his talents.
Although Hibiscus technically isn’t a painting, we couldn’t help but include it on this list. The bold colors mixed with the seemingly basic design show that flowers can be beautiful, even in their simplest form.
Take Inspiration from Flowers
Just like many great artists took inspiration from the natural beauty of flowers, so can you. By utilizing bright colors, intriguing textures, and stunning pairings, The Bouqs Co. creates flower arrangements that can add life to your home and provide the creative boost you’re looking for.
No matter if you’re looking for a floral arrangement for a birthday or wondering about the symbolism of flowers for tattoos, The Bouqs can help. We make it easy to order beautiful flowers online, and we also provide an in-person shopping experience at our flower shop in Manhattan. So the next time you’re looking for some floral inspiration, call on The Bouqs.Shop All