Pillole della nostra arte

The Sunflower

The Sunflower

Pillole della nostra arte

Helianthus annuus is the scientific name of the sunflower.

His name is linked to the sun just as in greek “Helios” means sun and “Anthos” flower, so it is the flower of the sun. But there is a reason that goes beyond its shape and its color that brings him closer to our star and that is his behavior that Linnaeus had studied extensively, heliotropism.

The heliport is the characteristic that indicates the movement who make the plant flowers or leaves to orient toward the sun. The movement is given by a light stimulus perceived by the plant, thanks to the cells which, stimulated by a hormone photosensitive, modify their internal water capacity. The plant is thus able to follow the path of the sun beginning from the east, that is, where is, following it until sunset, west, then return at night to head east. Keeps this feature until maturity when the stem stiffens and the majority of the flowers left pointed to the east. This plant that we see shining in the summer, we have now become accustomed to its presence, but its cultivation is relatively recent. In fact only arrived in Italy in the early sixteenth century, Latin America, mainly from Peru. Just at that time, in addition to plant seeds were brought to Europe many fine art gold flower that was worshiped by the local people as an earthly representation of the sun. There is a version derived from a greek myth that speaks of the birth of sunflower. The sunflower was not yet known at the time of ancient Greece, in fact, the myth seems to refer their all’eliotropo a flower that is already present in the Mediterranean. Ovid in his “Metamorphoses” gives us a story with the myth of Clizia. Clizia was a young nymph hopelessly in love with Apollo, but it was not reciprocated by the god, so stood there and watched him crying to the sky furrowed with the chariot of the sun. Then came the metamorphosis, Clizia began to turn into a plant and became more exactly a sunflower that went on for ever to turn toward the sun followed him throughout his career. In the history of European art sunflower begins to make his first appearances in the paintings of the Baroque era, more precisely, the Flemish painter Van Dyck is one of the first to play in some of his paintings, even together with his self-portrait. But the sunflowers best-known paintings are definitely made a couple of centuries later by the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. All of us have in mind the Van Gogh painting with sunflowers in pots, but the Dutch painter had made many others, at least 11 paintings with subject sunflowers wilted cut and laid, as in the series of Paris, or in pots, at first sight very similar, said series of Arles. In its approach statuesque van Gogh silhouetted by a fairly flat bottom of the figures of sunflower with dense brushstrokes and strong, intense that off the flowers from their background especially in the series of Paris, while in the series of Arles flat bottom is contrasted on the performance sunflowers, twisted and curvy. The series of Arles gives the impression that the sunflowers in vase played in this time period are all very similar in the different versions made. It seems because over the summer during which the painter could use real flowers to be observed, had already made instead use the pictures as a model for the copies made in the fall and winter, when the sunflowers were gone. Van Gogh himself ends up identifying the sunflowers. The sunflower symbolizes definitely the joy and life, but also represented the sincerity and the royal subordination. In this rainy spring and so little sun dream of reviewing those magnificent “nappole yellow” laughing, that we joyfully open the doors of the summer.

Edited by Lucio Minigrilli

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