The Scent of Flower Art

By Jo Phillips

To hear someone say the word Sunflower out loud, your mind may well automatically go to the famous Van Gogh images. Or maybe Georgia O’Keeffe’s large-scale flower paintings are more known to you. Yet again, this flower could bring to mind food or healing. Each and every flower no matter how exotic or simple seems to have huge power from its use in images, health via food and scent; its influence spreads much further than it can grow. Find out more in The Scent of Flower Art

From the classical artworks held in museums around the world to many modern artists, flowers hold their heads high. The artist Jeff Koons made a huge puppy sculpture out of flowers and Andy Warhol made infamous prints of flowers whilst British Textile artist William Morris often wove flowers into his naturally stylistic designs. Many of the classic Japanese artists involved in traditional woodcut images often represented natural elements from the garden on their screens.

So known for centuries for their scent florals are still after thousands of years, intertwined into most perfumes. And with new technologies flowers without an extractable scent can be created in labs. From the Rose, Jasmine, and Lily of the Valley, all the way through to non-scented Calla Lilies are used in perfumery

And of course, flowers have been used in natural remedies for centuries. The simple white and yellow common flower the Daisy has a stimulating effect on digestion and increases appetite, whilst Lavender is well known for aiding sleep. The Chrysanthemum has its place in traditional Chinese medicine for prescriptions concerning colds, headaches, inflammation of eyes, sore throat and boils, the beautiful blue Cornflower is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant flower that is helpful in soothing stomach ulcers. And so it goes on.

Then of course there are plenty of flowers we can eat the Forget-me-Not is delicious as a snack on its own or as a garnish. Peonies’ petals taste lovely in salads or lightly cooked and sweetened. Hibiscus is a great addition to fruit salads or to make a citrus-flavoured tea. Whilst Nasturtiums have a peppery, watercress-like taste. Coming back to Van Gogh and his Sunflowers, his most loved flowers have a mild nutty taste makes the petals good in salads or stir-fries.

The Sunflower paintings of Van Gogh’s paintings, and yes paintings as there was a total of five large canvases, are among his most famous. Created in Arles, in the south of France, in 1888 and 1889 he demonstrated that it was possible to create an image with numerous variations of a single colour, without any loss of eloquence.

It’s interesting to note that so powerful are these images that they were ‘created’ into perfumes by Floral Street in 2021 with the museum collaborating on the project. A delicious Floral Fruity Gourmand with notes of Mandarin Orange, Passionfruit and Bergamot, Bellini, Plum Blossom and Orris all coming together with Honey, Musk and Amber. 

Lesser known is the fact that Sunflowers were not the only flowers Van Gogh ever painted.

In fact, the flowers probably closest to the Van Gogh family were the images the artist created of Almond Blossom. Knarly twisted knotty branches set against a turquoise sky are set off with puffy blossom in whites with hints of pink, the energy of the image looks as if the tree is blowing in a slight breeze.

After he painted the trees in blossom it became a gift sent at the end of April 1890 to his brother Theo and his wife Jo, after the birth of their son called Vincent, named after the artist. It was Vincent Willem who went on to found the Van Gogh Museum.

The inspiration of Japanese printmaking is evident in the subject matter and it is the second set of flowers that has again inspired Floral Street into collaborating with the Museum on a second fragrance.

A challenging project to imagine this vivacious image as a scent by Michelle Feeney whobwent about this dynamic project with perfumer Jerȏme Epinette.

Jerȏme has collaborated with Michelle on quite of few of the house’s scents

I was deeply inspired and moved by the iconic colours and emotion of this painting For a simple subject there was so much complexity and storytelling in the shapes and movement of the branches. I captured this dynamism with a sparkling top from natural pomelo and focused on the matcha and apple blossom in the heart for a clean, crisp but also lush floralcy, to emphasise the multi­ dimensionality I ended with creamy vanilla and woods in the back for signature and warmth”.

Jerȏme Epinette, master perfumer

This perfume was already available in a home fragrance collection but is now available as an EDP. So the opening comes with fresh vibrancy from Mandarin with a soft powdery floral like a gentle breeze from Heliotrope with its delicate powdery facet and then also a slightly tart note of Apple Blossom.

Next, come more brightness from natural (Grapefruit-like) Pomelo skins and pulp with sweet sharp juicy Passionfruit, like the energetic brush strokes, with the botanic green notes of matcha tea to bring a sense of an almost Japanese influence that lingers deep in the painting.

The finale of creamy vanilla, soft creamy sandalwood, and nutty tonka bean are beautifully balanced with the other notes leaving a wrap of warmth around like an emotional hug from the feeling of viewing the painting.

Van Gogh’s art resonates with so many people of all ages around the world and my personal connection to this masterpiece has enabled me to reset and evolve my blue-sky thinking’ To express his uplifting Almond Blossom masterwork in a fragrance is a massive gift”

Michelle Feeney, Founder Floral Street

As with all products from the floral street line, responsible sourcing is utilised. The Pomelao is naturally cold-pressed whilst the Sandalwood is responsibly sourced by ingredient company Robertet from forests in New Caledonia, with an intensive reforestation programme in place. Whilst the packaging is a biodegradable pulp box wrapped in FSC-certified sleeves.

The simple flower seems to have huge power from its use in printing to health and scent its influence spands much further than it can grow.

The EDP comes in 10ml 50 ml and 100ml is available here whilst the collection also includes a candle and room diffuser

The tree that gave of itself as inspiration for the painting, its nuts as delicious food and its blossom a beautiful flower to gaze upon whilst the painting is brought together by Floral Street as an EDP.

Find everything you want to know about the perfumes and the brand at Floral Street.Com

If you enjoyed reading The Scent of Flower Art then why not read Behind The Cover here

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