Van Gogh Magnet Fritillaries
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
Imperial Fritillaries in a Copper Vase, 1887 - Oil on canvas. H. 73.5; W. 60.5 cm; musée d'Orsay
Fritillaries are bulbs which, like tulips, flower in spring. It is therefore easy to work out what time of year Van Gogh painted this picture. The variety which he represents is the imperial fritillary, which was grown in French and Dutch gardens at the end of the 19th century. It has an orange-red flower, with a long stem from which each bulb produces between three and ten flowers. So to compose this bouquet, Vincent used only one or two bulbs, placing the cut flowers in a copper vase.