Iris symbolism and painting
Iris symbolism and painting. Iris got its name from the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, and was named in honor of the Greek goddess Iris, the patron saint of the rainbow, which descended from Olympus to the people in the seven-colored robe. Iris was known to the people for a very long time. The unusual structure of the flower makes it very attractive for artists. Iris inspired artists since the most ancient times: on the island of Crete the mural, located on the wall of the palace of Knossos, shows a priest, surrounded by blooming irises. The 4,000 year-old fresco of iris was found on Crete among the paintings of Knossos palace, built at the end of the III millennium BC. Iris adorned the arms of the city of Florence. The Romans named the town, surrounded by plantations of white iris, Florence, meaning “blossoming.”
In Japan, the iris was believed to protect the house from all filthiness. In any Japanese family having a son on the traditional Day of the boys on the fifth day of the fifth moon, from flowers of iris and orange created a magical talisman “May pearl”. In Japanese, the same characters have name of the iris and the expression “military spirit”. “May pearl”, according to legend, must instill courage in the soul of the young man, because even the leaves of the plant are very similar to swords.
For Christians iris symbolizes purity, but it is also a symbol of mourning, the reason for that became its sharp wedge-shaped leaves, which seemed to embody the suffering of the Virgin. Very often, next to the image of the Virgin, we see the image of a blue iris.
One of the legends related to the flower says: “When Prometheus stole fire from heaven and gave it to the people on the ground, a rainbow broke with marvelous seven colors – so great was the joy of all living things in the world. The day faded, the sun was gone, and the rainbow was still shining over the world, giving hope to people. It didn’t die out until dawn. And when the morning again returned the sun to its place, where the magical rainbow glowed, irises bloomed … ”
In Russia, the word “Iris” emerged as the botanical name of the plant in the second half of the XIX century, and before that period iris was called “kasatik” (sweetheart, addressed to a boy), the people of Ukraine called it “cockerel.” In Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia iris was called Perunika – in honor of the Slavic god Perun.
Another feature of the flower – its unusual structure: they do not have sepals and petals. The beauty and charm of the iris flower is 6 petaloid tepals. They are called the perianth lobes. They are located in two tiers: the share of external lowered down, and the internal share in the top tier, form a sort of dome (called upper petals). Lines, located on the lower petals are often mistaken for the stamens. These same stamens with anthers inside the flower are under the double protection of the upper lobes and originally arranged pistil, divided into three petaloid blade having the form of grooves.