Daniël Seghers (1590-1661), A Stone Cartouche with a Garland of Flowers, c. 1655

Daniël Seghers (1590-1661), A Stone Cartouche with a Garland of Flowers, c. 1655. Oil on canvas. 97.3 x 70.6 cm. KMSsp231.
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These flowers glow in the colours blue, yellow (originally a bright, luminous yellow), red, pink and white; a combination typical of Flemish flower painting. It would be natural to assume that Seghers used the flowers’ natural foliage to make up his garland. However, this is not the case.

A crown of thorns
All the greenery comes from plants that one does not immediately associate with the fragrant, summery elegance of flowers: thistles, holly, brambles and perhaps an artichoke, too. Foliage and stems full of thorns. Of course this offers a contrast to the soft ornamentation of the stone cartouche, but this was presumably not the only reason for this choice, which seems very deliberate. Perhaps the thorny leaves were a reference to the crown of thorns given to Jesus prior to his crucifixion; the artist’s contemporaries would certainly have been familiar with such symbolism.

Updated: 26.apr.2018
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