The Secret Language of Flowers: Notes on the Hidden Meanings of Flowers in Art
French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel’s art-historical ABC of flowers, from Acanthus to Zea Mays.
During his 2012 residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel (born 1964) delved into the archives of the magnificent garden that Isabella Stewart Gardner, the first American woman to graduate with a degree in horticulture, cultivated around her residence. Othoniel examined the museum (where nothing has been moved since its owners died) and photographed the flowers in the tapestries, ironwork, architecture, furnishings and paintings, in such masterpieces as van Dyck’s ‘Portrait of a Woman’ with its innocuous rose, Piermatteo d’Amelia’s ‘Annunciation’ with its majestic lily and Bartolomé Bermejo’s ‘Saint Engracia’ with its enigmatic palm. This giftworthy volume presents his art-historical ABC of these flowers, from Acanthus to Zea Mays.