Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"I'd rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck." - Emma Goldman

I don't know about you all, dear readers, but today is a little gray and rainy outside. We're stuck in that lapse between winter and spring. I've started to hear birds singing, it's been warmer than it was here this time last year (knock on wood!), and we've actually seen some sunshine. Spring is coming. It's just taking a minute.

But in these gray times, everyone could use a little color, a little lift in spirits! So, I thought I'd send you some flowers, courtesy of Impressionist painter Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919). Renoir paints a great many flower still lifes, but for you, I gathered the best - The roses. Due to copyright, I couldn't post one of my favorite rose paintings of his, Bouquet dan une loge (1880), but you can follow the link and enjoy it yourself.

Bouquet of Roses, 1900.

Some of these paintings I couldn't find names for...most I couldn't find dates for. I did, however, meticulously check for his signature to make sure I was only sharing Renoirs with you.

Bouquet of Roses.

Like most flowers, roses (and more specifically, certain color roses) come attached with certain meaning. Pink roses, for example, are a symbol of elegance. Gratitude and appreciation describe deeper pink roses, while light pink roses can mean joy and sweetness.

If you'd like to thank someone for something, that would be a good opportunity to send deep pink roses. Light pink roses would be nice to give a daughter/sister/mother/aunt/grandmother on a birthday or special occasion.

Jete of Roses.

White roses represent innocence, purity, and new beginnings. This is why white roses are typical for marriages and memorials...they can be a strong symbol of honor and reverence. Offering a woman white roses can also act as a declaration that your intentions are pure, and you believe the recipient worthy of your affections.


Yellow roses symbolize joy and friendship. These are the roses my father always gives my mother, because she's his best friend and she makes him so happy. On that note, yellow roses are appropriate to send when you want to express friendship, to celebrate with a new mother or newly engaged couple, or to welcome someone to the neighborhood.

Bowlful of Roses.

Red roses are the unmistakable symbol of love. They represent enduring passion and romance, but can also signify courage, respect, or congratulations on a job well done.

And I'm pretty sure you know when to send these. ;)

Bouquet of Roses in a Blue Vase.

Peach roses are another opportunity to express gratitude, or also sympathy.

Coral roses express desire and happiness.

Orange roses speak to warmth and happiness, as well as energy, enthusiasm, and pride. Send orange roses if you want to tell someone you're proud of them!

Bouquet of Roses.

Lavender roses are rather sophisticated. They can allude to deep adoration and opulence. They symbolize deep love, and would be a good first rose to send if you want to express "love at first sight" or the extent of your love.

Roses and Jasmine in a Delft Vase.

Blue roses. Yes, they exist!
(But no, not in nature)
Blue roses represent fantasy - the impossible, the unattainable. This would -not- be the flower to send a lover, but would make a fun gesture to a friend that likes to write, create (art, music, Pinterest crafts...), or daydream. I've received a blue rose from a friend before, and it's such a fun, unique thing!
(But again, don't send your lover a flower that means "impossible." Anything should be possible when you're in love!)

Roses in a Vase, 1910-17.

Black roses. Ooooooooo.
Black roses are not actually black. Typically, they're actually just an exceptionally dark shade of red. Despite their "moody" appearance, "black" roses can actually symbolize rebirth and new beginnings. Now, they can have their dark messages too...but I think that's how you depend to look at it. Is the glass half full, or half empty (with pretty flowers!!)?

Vase of roses.

I know Valentine's Day is over, but ladies and gentlemen, you don't need a holiday to send flowers to someone you care about! And here are some template messages to match what you're trying to say through rose color symbolism!

.......You know, just in case your love (friend/family member) hasn't read my blog and isn't aware of the symbolism behind certain color roses, as you now are. ;)

Bouquet of Roses.

"There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted." - Henri Matisse


  1. Hi there! I was doing a bit of art history research today and happened upon your blog. I graduated with an illustration degree, but some of my favorite classes were my art history classes. Loved them so much! Thanks for sharing. :)


    1. Thanks for your comment! I loved looking through your blog...I love the layout, and your artwork is absolutely lovely! It's really great that you engage your audience with tips/activities (i.e. the perfume or flower meanings) as well as share what you do.

      I hope you'll check back/comment again in the future! :)