Symbolism in Art

Symbolism in Art: The Blue Willow
Article date: Friday, September 22, 2017

Symbolism in Art: The Blue Willow

The Blue Willow (or The Willow Pattern) represents a Chinese garden with a large pavilion and a bridge on which three figures are seen. In the upper left corner two flying birds and a distant island with trees and pavilions are depicted. The legend associated with it goes as follows. A rich and powerful mandarin lived in a big house and worked as a customs officer for the Emperor.

Symbolism in Art: Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent
Article date: Monday, September 18, 2017

Symbolism in Art: Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent

The lily is one of the most potently symbolic flowers. Often associated with humility, devotion, purity and innocence, they are often presented at weddings and christenings, evoking chastity, femininity and fragility.

Symbolism in Art: Frida Kahlo – Self Portrait with Monkey
Article date: Monday, September 4, 2017

Symbolism in Art: Frida Kahlo – Self Portrait with Monkey

“I paint myself because I’m so often alone and because I am the subject I know best,” Frida Kahlo. Born and raised in Mexico to a German father and a Pacific Islander mother, Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) has become known for her self-portraiture and her unique painting style. Combining elements of traditional Mexican folk art, she studies every detail of her physique and transcends normalised structures of beauty.

Symbolism in Art: Irises – Van Gogh (1889)
Article date: Friday, July 28, 2017

Symbolism in Art: Irises – Van Gogh (1889)

There are 325 species of iris flower. Most wild iris are blue or purple. Vincent Van Gogh’s representation of a bouquet of iris flowers, titled Irises (1889), appears to show the blue variety, although records show that the original paint would have been a vibrant purple before the passing of time dulled the pigment.

Symbolism in Art: The Egg
Article date: Monday, June 5, 2017

Symbolism in Art: The Egg

The egg has always held particular symbolic significance, partly because it is a visual shorthand for new life and un-hatched potential. The egg brings hope and purity. It is a symbol of fertility and the circle of life. In some Asian cultures the egg is seen as a symbol of luck and wealth.

Symbolism in Art: The Pillow
Article date: Monday, May 1, 2017

Symbolism in Art: The Pillow

Contemporary Chinese surrealist painter and sculptor Zhang Xiaogang was born in Southern China in 1958. Often seen as Avant-Garde, Xiaogang’s artistic life has witnessed several important moments in China’s history, many of which are explored within his work. Perhaps the most defining brush with the political regime occurred during the early stages of Xiaogang’s life when he was brutally separated from his parents during the Cultural Revolution. They were sent to one of Mao’s notorious ‘study camps’, leaving him and his siblings behind.

Symbolism in Art: Red
Article date: Thursday, April 6, 2017

Symbolism in Art: Red

In Matisse’s Music, created in 1910 to be hung in the staircase of a Moscow mansion, we see one of the artist’s last compositions of the human figure. It was created to be hung alongside a second, preceding painting titled Dance. The two works are colouristically linked, portraying red figures contrasted against a blue and green background.

Symbolism in Art: The Lilly
Article date: Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Symbolism in Art: The Lilly

American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is known for his provocative images and controversial subject matter. Having been born in suburban USA, a place he said was “a good place to come from and a good place to leave”, he lived in New York at the infamous Chelsea Hotel with singer Patti Smith. His work became popular in the mid 70s and he produced hundreds of photographs documenting what he called “the unexpected”.

Symbolism in Art: The Bird
Article date: Friday, November 4, 2016

Symbolism in Art: The Bird

The most striking elements of this poetic scene are incomplete without a look at the background. The lone table tennis player may exemplify Doig’s interest in human character and form. And the abstract backdrop to his one-sided game may well bring to mind the modernist architecture which the Scottish painter has famously explored elsewhere. Together they form a puzzle, an unfinished narrative, and an arresting visual image that really defies paraphrase.

Symbolism in Art: The Butterfly
Article date: Friday, October 21, 2016

Symbolism in Art: The Butterfly

Bas Meeuws (1974) is a photographer from the Netherlands, who has won international acclaim for his richly detailed studies within the traditional Dutch genre of floral still life. Close to home his work has been exhibited in public and private institutions such as the Museum Jan Van Der Togt (Amstelveen), Rockoxhouse (Antwerp), and others.

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Image of the Day

Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

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