The National Museum of Art of Romania
Aman - Flowers (Still-life)
Artwork description
Theodor Aman
(Câmpulung Muscel, 1831 – Bucharest, 1891)
Oil on canvas
48,5 x 75,5 cm
Inv. 3181
Artwork location
Romanian Modern Art Gallery, room 1
Sign language video
Sign language video

A simple still-life with roses, one is tempted to say. And yet as soon as we notice the fan, books, perfume bottle, and the metal bowl containing notes, letters and an elegant pair of beige leather gloves next to the flowers, we understand there is more to it than meets the eye. The artist spells out a visual riddle. Each element plays a part in portraying an invisible but highly elegant, refined person. Certainly the riddle is about a woman who loves flowers, particularly pink roses, but who would she be? Looking closer we discover that the envelope in the bowl is addressed to Madame Aman...

Ana Aman, the painter’s wife, was a highly educated and fashion-conscious lady. The painting is nothing short of a love-letter. Though absent from the painting, and perhaps from home, she is always present in the artist’s thoughts.

Roses in the painting go a long way back, reviving a tradition of associated symbols. These range from Christian symbols as in religious paintings of the Virgin, such as Domenico Veneziano’s “Virgin and Child” in the Gallery of European Art, to more mundane, Biedermeier paintings, such as Smaranda Catargi’s lavish engagement portrait at the mezzanine of the National Gallery.

 

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