#1 Flowersthe Green Gallery
By Meta Struycken
The intoxicating fragrance, the intense colours, the beautiful fragile structure of its petals…. You can immediately see why the rose is called the ‘Queen of Flowers’. The rose has long been surrounded with passionate associations, its popularity as enduring as love itself_____.
The beautiful, shapely flower represents love and passion, whilst the thorns show that love is not always rose-tinted … It’s no surprise that the Rosa family – with 300 wild species and thousands of cultivated descendants - has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for poets, writers, artists, landscape architects, perfumers and fashion designers all over the world for centuries. The rose is a natural, breathtaking muse. Long live the rose!
Passion and the red rose have been inextricably linked for many thousands of years. Take the Greek myth about Aphrodite - goddess of love, beauty and fertility - and her beloved hunter Adonis. When Adonis is attacked by a wild boar, Aphrodite struggles through rose bushes to reach him as quickly as possible. She thereby rips her skin open on the thorns. Her blood turns the white roses that she passes red. And the story becomes even more romantic when Adonis dies on the spot and his blood, mixed with Aphrodite’s tears, soaks into the soil. Red roses grow to the heavens to emphasise Aphrodite’s eternal love for Adonis. A sad but highly romantic tale. That rose…
With roses we particularly think of the beautiful things in life: a romantic English rose garden where the bustle of modern life has gained no foothold, an intoxicating perfume from hand-picked rose petals or a bouquet received from a lover, friends or family. All featuring the beautiful rose in the starring role, because it smells so wonderful and you can enjoy it for such a long time.
As a flower in the garden bending toward the sun, unfolds its tiny petals one, by one, by one...Artists have had their imagination stimulated by roses for centuries. We are indebted to the beauty of the rose for the mellow still-lives by the French painter Henri Fantin-Latour (1836 - 1904) of roses in simple glass vases. And the breathtaking painting, The Soul of the Rose (1908) by the British artist J.W. Waterhouse (1849 – 1917), which depicts a woman smelling a soft pink flowering rose, is a feast for the senses. Colour composition, emotion, atmosphere: everything is suffused with the rose. You keep gazing at it and wonder whether her thoughts are wistful, or whether the fragrance of that beautiful rose is bringing back tender memories… Fashion designers are also utterly engaged by the colours, distinctive shapes and fragile textures of ‘la belle rose’. The beautiful flower has a tremendous appeal to their creativity. For proof that this theme is still just as current, you only need to look at the Parisian couture shows for the coming autumn/winter. Sarah Burton, the designer at the Alexander McQueen fashion house, has taken plenty of inspiration from the spirit of the rose and the various life stages the flower has gone through, from bud to full bloom, to it withering. Delicate fabrics in pale faded pink, rich burgundy and bright lipstick red combined with racy black leather as a reference to the spiky thorns as the dark side of the rose. ‘A rose is a rose is a rose’ wrote the American author Gertrude Stein very appositely in 1913. In other words: things are what they are. The fabulous timeless rose requires no further explanation when we give or receive it; it is clearly and indubitably the most beautiful girl in the class____.
So faith expands its beauty until at last it grows into life's lasting flower...
The heart's fair perfect rose.