Wednesday, March 2, 2011

March - month of the Daffodil

Daffodils are one of the first flowers of spring, thus symbolizing hope and rebirth. The Latin name for daffodil is narcissus, which is also a name known in Greek mythology.  Narcissus was extremely self absorbed and eventually fell in love with his own image.  In one version of the myth, Narcissus fell into a river while admiring his reflection and drowned.  The gods placed daffodils on the riverbank in his honor.
Ancient Egyptians used the daffodil as a ritualistic flower in death.  Daffodil bulbs were placed over the eyes, nose and mouth of buried Pharaohs.  In the Christian faith, daffodils are often used to symbolize Christ's death and resurrection.  They are often referred to as Lenten flowers in England since they are in bloom during Lent.
Daffodils are available in a large variety of colors, the most common being yellow.  They can also be found in white, pink, orange, peach, red and green.  Blooms can be of a solid color or a variation of colors. There are over 13,000 hybrids listed in the Daffodil Data Bank.
Switching gears slightly, flowers have long been depicted in paintings and other forms of art.  One of the most well known artists for painting this subject is Georgia O'Keeffe.  She was an American artist whose work spans from the late 1910's through the 1980's.  Her art was always a reflection of her surroundings and she was known for simply painting what she saw.  Between 1918 and 1932, Georgia O'Keeffe created over 200 flower paintings - depicting roses, petunias, poppies, camellias, sunflowers, bleeding hearts, daffodils, black iris, calla lilies and orchids.
" A flower is relatively small.  Everyone has many associations with a flower - the idea of flowers.  ... So I said to myself -  I'll paint what I see - what the flower is to me but I'll paint it big and they will be surprised into taking time to look at it. "  - Georgia O'Keeffe
"Yellow Jonquils #3"
Georgia O'Keeffe 1936