Thistlethwaite Americana | Still Life with Pink Roses
We pride ourselves on presenting distinctive fine and decorative arts from the 18th through the 20th century highlighting great American design.
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Still Life with Pink Roses

Still Life with Pink Roses


Circa 19 century

Oil on canvas

15″ H x 18″


Nothing livens up a room like an elegantly arranged bouquet of freshly-cut flowers. This still life exudes lovely nostalgic feelings of falling in love and growing up. It mixes themes of innocence, beauty, temptation and passion through the life and symbolism of flowers, grapes and silver. The gentle, yet lively color scheme of this painting is refreshingly light and portrays a sense of hope and promise for the future. Although this painting is lovely enough to appeal to people of all ages and backgrounds, it has a sense of wistfulness about it that makes it well-suited to anyone searching for something evocative from the art with which they surround themselves.


Some of the flowers are open and fully in-bloom, while others are still buds, waiting for their chance to grow and reach their fullest potential for beauty. Housed in a silver pedestaled or chalice, the artist’s skill at maintaining a folky quality while also showcasing his/her ability to depict reflective textures is well-balanced. The use of a chalice has a long and symbolic foundation in Christian and religious history. The Biblical allusion to the chalice is likely intentionally presented in this piece to reference honor and devotion. Being displayed in a reflective cup, the flowers bring a blossoming youthfulness to the painting that hints at the liminal beauty and realities of growth and change. Assuming the cup is filled with water to keep the flowers alive and thriving, the cup gives life and longevity to the blossoms. 


Next to the chalice is a bunch of grapes. A very common motif in still life paintings, grapes are typically associated with Dionysus or Bacchus. More generally, they can represent lust or pleasure. Positioned next to these blossoming flowers in the reflective silver cup, the grapes hint at the temptations a beautiful flower will experience when drinking wine from the cup of life. Among the pink, blue, orange and white flowers is a singular dark red carnation, which represents deep love and admiration; the color suggests that some passions of life have already been experienced. 


Three pink English roses gracefully droop onto the marble-topped mantle. These flowers may serve as a gentle reminder that life, good health, youth, happiness and beauty are fragile. Contrarily, the still-thriving pink roses symbolize grace, joy, admiration and gratitude in life. Also mixed into the bouquet are delicate blue forget me nots, signaling love, respect, and the promise to always remember someone, something, or some moment in time. The singular orange tulip portrays a sense of veneration and understanding between two people, supposedly between the giver and recipient of the flowers. The last flowers in the cup are two white daffodils. Often used in wedding bouquets, these flowers often represent purity, innocence, new beginnings, and personal transformations away from vanity, pride and selfishness.


WHY WE LOVE IT: Spring is in the air y’all!