The secret language of flowers
To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Louvre Pyramid, Jean-Michel Othoniel was invited by the museum to produce a book on the importance of flowers in its eight departments.
The artist composes an unpublished herbarium accompanied by notes he has written on the secret language of flowers and their symbolism in ancient painting. He thus reveals their hidden meaning by telling their stories and mythologies. This work is presented as a notebook that the artist has nourished throughout the rooms of the Louvre Museum, where we find the thistle in Dürer’s self-portrait, the poppy in the funerary stele of Paros, the apple on the stool in Fragonard’s lock, or the peony in the untucked shirt of the young girl with the broken jug by Greuze. In this book, the artist reveals his passion for flowers, discovered during a residency at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston) in 2012, and reveals the direct relationship his new sculptural and pictorial works have with the hidden symbolism of plants.
The secret language of flowers (L’herbier merveilleux, notes sur le sens caché des fleurs dans la peinture)