Exuberant Flowers (and Weeds?)

Years ago I bought this poster of an exuberant bouquet by Jan van Huysum (1682-1749), which was at the time on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It’s still among the two dozen framed images that rotate through my house. I’d love to see it again, but I’m not sure where the actual painting has gone: the MFA’s site lists Huysum’s Vase of Flowers in a Nichebut not this one.

Jan Huysum, Vase of Flowers. Current location unknown (to me, at least!)

If you like this sort of thing, see:

Muttering discontent, curs’d me and my flower

Thought-provoking words on flowers (and much else) from Alfred Lord Tennyson: “The Flower“.

Once in a golden hour
I cast to earth a seed.
Up there came a flower,
The people said, a weed.

To and fro they went
Thro’ my garden-bower,
And muttering discontent
Curs’d me and my flower.

Then it grew so tall
It wore a crown of light,
But thieves from o’er the wall
Stole the seed by night.

Sow’d it far and wide
By every town and tower,
Till all the people cried,
“Splendid is the flower.”

Read my little fable:
He that runs may read. *
Most can raise the flowers now,
For all have got the seed.

And some are pretty enough,
And some are poor indeed;
And now again the people
Call it but a weed.

* “He that runs may read” apparently means that something is explained so clearly that even non-experts can grasp it immediately; so, “Read my little fable: it’s easy to understand.”


  • Happy Midsummer’s Eve!
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About Dianne L. Durante

I constantly seek out art that's inspiring, thought-provoking, skillfully executed, and/or beautiful so I can share it (in jargon-free language) with others who need and enjoy such art, but don't have time to search for it themselves. As an independent scholar, writer, and lecturer, I focus on art history and history, with forays into food, history, politics, and publishing. My most recent projects are three volumes on Alexander Hamilton, From Portraits to Puddles, Central Park: The Early Years, Innovators in Sculpture (a survey of 5,000 years of art in 2 hours), and videoguide apps by Guides Who Know. Click on the Books & Essays tab for a list of all books. For upcoming projects, see my Patreon page.

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