Vincent van Gogh
(written in a letter to his brother Theo)
Vincent van Gogh was a great painter. I did not really like his work until I went to the museum bearing his name in Amsterdam where his work is displayed and saw with my own eyes the mastery of his paintings and read many of his letters to his brother, Theo.
The Sunflower paintings of Vincent Van Gogh show a mental connection not only between the artist’s name and the painting, but also between the artist and the influence of Sunflowers on the development of art through these paintings. Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings have altered mankind’s perspective of art and life. (Van Gogh Gallery site)
Did you know that Europe and the USSR produce over 60% of the world’s Sunflowers. Sunflowers make up the genus Helianthus. In Greek helios means sun and anthos means flower, thus Sunflower. The genus, which contains about 67 species, is thought to be native to the Americas (North, South) originally, and were domesticated around 1000 B.C. Although, Sunflowers are now distributed almost worldwide. (Sunflower Plant, Care, Growing site)
Sunflower is the national flower of Russia and the state flower of Kansas, USA. Sunflower is notable for turning to face the Sun, a behaviour known as heliotropism. Sunflowers were cultivated by Native Americans well over 1000 years ago. Sunflower heads consist of 1,000 to 2,000 individual flowers joined together by a receptacle base. The large petals around the edge of a sunflower head are individual ray flowers which do not develop into seed. Sunflower seeds have lots of calcium and 11 other important minerals. They do have 50% fat, but it is mostly polyunsaturated linoleic acid.
Sunflowers can be eaten, would you believe? The flower is best eaten in the bud stage when it tastes similar to artichokes. Once the flower opens, the petals may be used like chrysanthemums, the flavour is distinctly bittersweet. The unopened flower buds can also be steamed like artichokes. (New Hampshire Magazine online)
“We spend our whole lives in unconscious exercise of
the art of expressing our thoughts with the help of words.”
Vincent van Gogh
(New York Times online article has more on this)
Weather is such at present that we in Finland need reminders of the sun in the form of SUNFLOWERS!
Tis for now, Rii xx
Photos: Riihele. All rights reserved.