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The first representations of flowers in art appeared in Eastern cultures (China and Japan) from the eleventh century onwards, and they were used either for illustrating poems or as independent paintings. Usually they symbolized spiritual values such as purity and simplicity.
During the medieval period, floral motifs were very used as a part of sacred painting, symbolizing purity and chastity (the lily was closely linked to Marian representations of this period).
From the sixteenth century onwards the flowers would be present in a sub-genre of still life: the floral still life. Artists such as Jan Brueghel the Elder and Daniel Seghers in Flanders, Mario Nuzzi or Margarita Caffien in Italy and Spain, Pedro de Camprobín, Gabriel de la Corte, Juan de Arellano would depict vases and garlands. Especially in Holland, this genre would experience its peak thanks to the generalization of horticulture with the popularization of tulips. Flowers were seen as aesthetic objects and religious symbols at the time.
In the nineteenth century painters of the Impressionist movement would devote a significant part of their work to the artistic depiction of flowers. As an example we can mention Monet and his series of 250 oil paintings of water lilies. Other famous painters of the time that depicted floral themes were Manet, Renoir and Van Gogh, with his famous Sunflowers.
One of the most representative artists of the twentieth century, Andy Warhol, made flowers one of his most recurring theme. He said that orchids to be 'most fascinating'. Among his work we can find over 10,000 images of flowers, including his Flowers series, created in 1970.