Pluck roses as soon as possible

John William Waterhouse • Painting, 1909, 101×82.5 cm
About the artwork
Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Genre scene
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1909
Size: 101×82.5 cm
Artwork in selections: 76 selections

Description of the artwork «Pluck roses as soon as possible»

"Pluck the roses as soon as possible" — paintings of Waterhouse 1909 on the theme of the transience of time, the beauty of women and the world. This is not the first attempt to create paintings with such content, a year earlier he wrote of the same name, but less known canvas.

Painting and literature are inseparable in the work of Waterhouse, and the inspiration for it can serve only one line. The theme of women and flowers was popular among the English pre-Raphaelites and romantics, but Waterhouse approaches it differently. He's not just admiring the cute eye images and objects, and puts philosophical meaning, literally quoting the first stanza of the poem "to the Virgins: in a hurry to catch up" by Robert Herrick English poet of the seventeenth century:

Gather ye rosebuds,
Subject to all aging
The flowers now all of a mile,
The next day will become a shadow.

The first line as the title of the painting in English is: "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may"that is literally translated as "pluck the rose buds while you can". The poet encourages the reader and the artist — viewer to enjoy moments of beauty, youth and flowering time, because such a moment may not be repeated: after the sun always comes night, and after spring comes fall, and what is admired today, tomorrow will turn into dust.

Amid the flowery glades depicts two girls gathering flowers from the rose Bush and folding them together. The artist depicted them as ancient nymphs: they are the incarnation of tenderness, femininity and purity, they are light-hearted and merged with nature. These trainees Herrick devotes his words. Their heads were bent over the flowers, their neck and shoulders sensual and Nude, but, just like flowers, these girls are calm and unemotional. Their dresses, as tunics, light and transparent, airy folds envelop the characters, beautifully conveying the words of the author:

Drop the modesty, the outfit
Dress your wedding;
Will be spring and this rite
You have to wait, maybe forever.

Behind the young virgins flows a small river is a symbol of the flow of life and passing time, and on the other side, in the distance, among the cedar groves two female figures: one girl leaned over the flower, and the second stands with his apron full of flowers.

The whole picture is executed in bright spring colors. This blue mountains on the horizon, the fresh grass and the dark trees. Dusty pink and cornflower blue dresses — the dominant color of the entire work. Add contrast saturated colors hair girls: Golden-red and bluish black. The author of all artistic means give the audience a feeling of freshness and absolute youth, calling to enjoy every moment.

Interest in painting in Waterhouse after his death declined significantly. This led to the fact that his paintings could be bought for next to nothing. That is why many important paintings are now in private collections and not in public museums. The same fate befell the work of the "Pluck the roses as soon as possible", although her story is more than vague. The painting disappeared from view almost a hundred years and was randomly discovered in one of the houses in Toronto. When the owners purchased the house from the previous owners, she had hung on the wall. How the work came to Canada, still nobody knows. At Sotheby's auction it was estimated at between $ 1.75 to 2.5 million dollars but no one bought.

Author: Lyudmila Lebedeva