Floral pictures were a standard fare for Medieval and Renaissance artists, but any attempts to find information about modern artists that placed both insects and flowers in a painting will take some research. The first part of the task will be determining just when modern art began. Many place this era entirely in the 20th and 21st centuries, while others may go back as far as the French impressionists and postimpressionists. Just to make our task simpler, we will begin with the cubists and Fauves, who arrived on the Paris scene just after 1900.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Small notepad
- Pencil and eraser
- General knowledge of modern art
Contact a knowledgeable art professional and ask about modern artists who are likely to incorporate both insects and flowers in a drawing or painting. Likely candidates for such an inquiry might include art critics at major publications, professors at universities, curators at major museums, gallery owners, noted collectors or perhaps a knowledgeable world traveller.
Use your own knowledge of modern art to produce a list of artists, who either used insects or flowers in their paintings. The best way to do this is to just sit down and draw some names from the top of your head. The more experience that you have visiting museums and studying art history in general, the easier this task will be. For example, my initial list would include Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Klee, M.C. Esher, Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, Marc Chagrall, Frida Kahlo and Juan Miro. However, since Van Gogh was a 19th century artist, he would have to be scratched off the list.
Undertake an image search for modern artists that you from gathered from the first two steps. This can be done by choosing a major search engine and selecting the Image search mode. Then put in two sets of words, separated by a comma, which indicate your desired search area. For example, you could enter the terms "modern artists" and "flowers." Depending on the results you get back, you could add the names of a more recent artist to the list.
Make a list of insects that pollinate flowers. This will help you find pictures that include both insects and flowers in the same drawing or painting. Moths, butterflies, bees, wasps, beetles, flies and mosquitoes are all capable of pollinating flowers. Again, you can find this type of information by searching online.
Choose one artist and one pollinating insect and perform an image search using the two terms. For example, an image search using "Salvador Dali" and "butterflies" might find an online image of "The Queen of the Butterflies", a painting that Dali made in 1951. This image features many butterflies and only a few dead flowers, but still in falls within the subject area. Actually, there is another Dali painting, "Landscape With Cavalier and Gala," that might appear, when using the search criteria of modern artists, insects and flowers.
Perform a Web search to see if the painting is part of a public art collection. Of course, many paintings are in private collections, but you might find artwork that is on display near where you live, especially if you live near a large urban area.
Tips and warnings
- Reading a background book on 20th century modern art may help you gain insight into which artists actually placed subject matter concerning natural history within their drawings and paintings.
- Don't limit your search to nonliving masters. There are a good number of artists living and working today, who have large followings and may have created a painting that you will find highly informative and interesting.
- Do not spend time researching unknown living artists. Many artists today consider themselves within the tradition of modern art and have made their paintings available for Internet viewers, despite a lacklustre following in the real art world.
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