Calla Flowers Symbolism

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During the Art Deco era the calla lily became one of the most popular flowers around. Whether in florist shops or on artist canvases the calla lily became a recurring theme. Like many flowers before it the calla lily came to be more than a flower on its own but it represented the idea of femininity. The calla lily was used by artists such as Tamara de Lempicka, Diego Rivera and Georgia O’Keeffe as a symbol of femininity and feminism. Through examining their works, in relation to their own lives and the events of the day, I will explore how the calla lily came to represent a new type on femininity and feminism. To begin with the calla lily itself. The calla or arum lily, as it is also commonly known, belongs to neither the calla, arum, nor…show more content…
During the 17th century, Dutch artists painted numerous still lives of flower bouquets in vases. These flowers exhibited the wealth of the patron because of how expensive it would have been to buy the flowers. Tulips were the most popular during this time. Like the calla lily, the tulip is not native to Europe, when the tulip was brought to the Netherlands it became sought after on a level that is hard to associate with flowers today. A period of Tulip-o-mania occurred with the Dutch bankrupting themselves in order to buy tulips. While the appearance of calla lilies did not create the same frenzy as tulips, they nevertheless were impactful on flower trends. The calla lily itself could have more specific meanings. Being a white flower some considered it bad luck to have in the home or to bring to a hospital as they were used at funerals and during Easter celebration in church displays. The calla lily was known before the 1920s and was therefore included in the Victorian language of flowers, though its popularity did not peak until later. A calla lily was used to symbolize “magnificent beauty” to the Victorians but would reinvent itself in the decades that followed. Georgia O’Keeffe joined the calla lily trend fairly early on, just as they were starting to gain popularity in the 1920s. During the twenties O’Keeffe experimented with the style that she is perhaps best…show more content…
She was a confident woman who embraced her sexuality and sought sexual gratification, often being the pursuer in the relationship rather than the passive party. De Lempicka was not confined within how society thought women ought to act, while she still sought a man as a steady provider, her art, while successful was not always a reliable source of income, she did not believe that a marriage needed to be her only relationship and was prepared to seek companionship and sexual gratification elsewhere. Ira P as her lover and muse is an example of the ways that her life could function without the presence of a man, despite her self-imposed dependency on them for

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