Martin Johnson Heade. (1819 – 1904). Hummingbirds and Flowers of Passion.
The Passiflora or Flowers of Passion is a liana thus a climbing plant with the splendid flowers, it pushes in the areas with the soft and wet climate. The name of Flowers of Passion comes from the resemblance of the elements which constitute it with the instruments of the Passion of Christ. One distinguishes a crown from filaments, crowns spines, in the center of the tube formed by the base of the chalice and the corolla. Cheesecloths have the pace of small hammers and the marks that of nails. The missionaries Jesuits of South America used this flower to symbolize the passion of Christ near the natives. The background of the painting is completely plunged in the fog whose color, by contrast emphasizes the red of the flowers and the hummingbirds.
The glance of the spectator is attracted by the flower of right-hand side and the 2 birds. The point of view is located about in the middle of the painting.
The 2 Passifloras are on the natural points of lower interests left and higher right. The Hummingbirds are close to the natural point of interest lower right. The fact of positioning the major elements of the composition on the tension fields reinforces even more their presence.
The sky with the background occupies a little more of the 2 thirds of pictorial space. It emphasizes, by contrast of the colors, Hummingbirds and Flowers of Passion in the foreground.
The painting was elaborate according to the large ascending diagonal. The course of the lianas is not random. In bottom they guide the glance towards the flower and the birds then towards the second flower top and far in the fog.
The male Hummingbird in top, with the white plumage on the head is in full parade in love below the flower, which is appropriate well with the name of the plant. The female in bottom contemplates it.
One distinguishes well the orange crown and its filaments as well as cheesecloths in form from small hammers and nails.
The second flower is turned in the other direction one distinguishes still best the various elements which composes it.
Although one perceives much clearness to the background it seems that the painting is enlightened line.
Colors : Contrast between cold and hot colors.
Martin Johnson Heade. Cattleya Orchid and 3 Brazilian
Martin Johnson Heade. Orchids and Hummingbird. (1875).