Flowers and art have had a long and storied relationship. From Monet's Water Lillies to Van Gogh's series of Sunflower paintings, artists have spent countless hours immortalizing the beauty of blooms. Buenos Aires-based artist Maria Marta Morelli continues the tradition of flower art with her series of large-scale paintings of peonies and roses.
“I'm very interested in the cycle of time and I consider myself an environmental painter, focused on Mother Nature's beauty,” Morelli tells My Modern Met. “Flowers represent youth, sensuality, tenderness, splendor, passion, love, and beauty, but at the same time they also represent the unbearable finitude of life.” She renders her subjects with layers of oil paint until each tiny detail is captured. Furthermore, she places her flowers against a solid color background to enhance the vibrant splendor of the flora.
While she is fond of all flowers, her art gravitates towards two species in particular. “The flowers that I usually paint, like peonies and roses, have a structure with enveloping petals,” she continues. “I think of these curved structures as the beautiful female bodies from the Renaissance.” Typically, her compositions feature a combination of blossoms and flowers that are already in full bloom. This gives the artist the opportunity to paint different stages of a flower's life on one canvas.
Due to the level of realism in Morelli's art, she often spends over 40 hours on one painting. “When working in a realism style, we have to look very carefully at our whole model first,” she explains. “Then, virtually part it into small pieces like a puzzle. [Only afterward] can we can process the information these pieces are giving us (i.e. color, value, shapes).”
The artist's keen observation of peonies and roses pays off as her art looks real enough to touch. In this way, she celebrates the ephemeral beauty of something that exists. “Through my paintings, I expect people to stop for a while in their hurried lives and admire the great beauty in Nature which is usually taken for granted.”
Scroll down to see more amazing paintings, and keep up to date with the artist's latest work by following Morelli on Instagram.