Watercolour, pencil and Pastel drawing on Paper
Signed by Richard Chrisp.
Matted and Backing board - White 440 x 485mm
Watercolour on Paper 330 x 380mm
In the mid-1970s, Chrisp's artistic journey led him to Paris, France, where he enrolled in the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Prior to this, he had diligently learned French and Italian during his studies at Victoria University. It was during his time in Europe that he began honing his skills as a watercolour artist. Chrisp, fluent in Italian spent time in Italy in the 1970’s and his inspiration continues to capture his memories, connections and colours of Europe.
Richard Chrisp's profound fascination extends beyond France and Louis XIV; it encompasses his deep admiration for botanical wonders, as reflected in his passion for floral paintings. His work delves into the intricate world of collecting, nurturing, and showcasing flowers in early modern France, a period when these blossoms, many of them newly introduced to Europe, ignited the curiosity of various individuals, including European gardeners, botanists, merchants, ministers, and royalty.
During this remarkable era, flowers transcended their role as mere botanical specimens or decorative elements. They possessed the unique ability to unveil the inquisitiveness, logic, and discerning taste of the elite men who dedicated themselves to their cultivation. The cultural and increasingly political importance of these qualities did not elude the attention of royal panegyrists, who harnessed the evolving symbolism of flowers to extol the magnificence of Louis XIV, the Sun King.
Historical records, meticulously preserved in archives, provide valuable insights into the existence of floral plantations within the opulent gardens of Versailles. These records also unveil the sophisticated network of nurseries established to meet the exacting demands of the king's gardeners. The successful cultivation of these exquisite blooms allowed Louis XIV to underscore the notion that his reign represented a golden age, even surpassing the illustrious eras of antiquity.
Richard Chrisp's work not only hints to the historical context of flowers in European history but also transcends the well-known phenomenon of the Dutch tulip mania. It recognises our appreciation for the profound significance of flowers within the framework of the French classical garden and highlights the profound influence of curious florists on the refined tastes of the monarch and the intriguing connection between cultural influences and the realm of politics.
Victorious generals, known as triumphators, had monumental arches erected to commemorate their victories. Following construction of the arches, the generals were often granted a triumph, a celebratory procession passing beneath the arch decorated with flowers.
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