How Famous Artists Depicted Trees

I wanted to explore how many of the influential artists drew and painted trees.

I will start with Van Gogh.

Van Gogh, Mulberry Tree

Van Gogh’s painting, The Mulberry Tree, depicts a tree in the garden of the asylum. He used short, sweeping brush strokes for the ground, then the foliage is the most prominent past of this tree, and this image. The leaves are orange, as it was autumn, and also rusty shades. The paint is applied thickly and in a bold manner. It seems to sway, with the shape of the tree, and to me, it is full of energy and feels alive.

Van Gogh, The Pink Peach Tree

I think this image of the pink peach tree is beautiful. The brush strokes on the blossom looks so alive and like the mulberry tree, this peach tree is full of vibrancy and energy. The blossom is implied by the random white and green brush strokes, but looks very effective. The trunk is painted simply, in a solid manner, which contrasts with the impressionistic blossom.

The final Van Gogh painting I would like to mention is The Road Menders.

Van Gogh, The Road Menders

In this painting, Van Gogh has used sweeping brush strokes for the trunk, in shades of brown, cream, blue and green. This adds interest into what could be a bland palette. The trees look sturdy and established, and again they have a life of their own. The perspective in this image is very effective, too.

Next I will mention a work by Bruegal (1565) called Hunters in the Snow.

Bruegal, (1565), The Hunters in the Snow [oil on wood]

The trees in The Hunters in the Snow are depicted in a stark manner. It is obviously winter, and the trees are mere barren trunks and branches. They are very dark, with highlights on the top of the branches. The trunks have no detail, but the branches are painted intricately.

Next we go to Claude Monet and his painting, Springtime (Apple Trees in Bloom).

Claude Monet, Springtime (Apple Trees in Bloom)

This is a beautiful painting, fresh and full of light. The fact that it is a sunny day is evident from the highlights on the blossom trees and the shadows cast on the ground. There is a rich array of green tones in this painting, and limiting the colours to greens, whites, greys and pale pinks creates a wonderful springtime feel. The image is impressionistic in its dreamy application of paint. A feast for the eyes!

John Constable now, and his painting, Trees on Hampstead Heath.

Constable, Trees on Hampstead Heath

What a beautiful painting this is. The light is wonderful, basking the trees in the warm glow of the sun. The trees are wonderfully depicted, in muted shades. There is a lot of variation in tone, and this creates a convincing rendition of the foliage. The composition of this image is very pleasing to me, the way the trees lead up in a diagonal line to the edge of the canvas.

Finally, I would like to mention Picasso’s cubist landscape, Woods.

Pablo Picasso, (1908), Woods

This, to me, is an incredibly engaging image. I like its cubist rendition of the trees and foliage. The palette of greens is lush. Picasso has used solid planes with little detail. The trees frame the image either side, with vegetation between. The composition is well thought out and compelling. The image has atmosphere and presence.

I have enjoyed researching artists who have created paintings featuring trees. There are so many different approaches, and each is wonderful. The way they apply the paint, the composition, the palette, the subject matter. It is enriching to see the wide variety of styles. I particularly enjoyed Van Gogh’s work, as it is so expressive.

3 comments

  1. Great post and paintings! My personal favourite is Claude Monet paintings of trees.

    I like how expressively you have described the paintings.

    You might have heard of the four poplar trees paintings by Monet. The story is something like that these trees were close to his resident and he wanted to paint them but unfortuantely these poplar trees were put up for auction before Monet had completed all of his paintings.

    Then there comes a point when Monet was forced into buying the trees because he hadn’t finished his paintings. After he finished the series, he sold the trees back to the lumber merchant who wanted them.

    Happy trees to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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