Nature has always held, and always will hold, an integral role in art. Asides from being the subject of endless inspiration, many of the mediums and tools that we use to create are also infused with the natural world with wood, charcoal, clay, graphite, water, binding nature and art both conceptually and tangibly.
"An artist must possess Nature.He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language." - Henri Matisse.
Despite only selling a singular painting during his lifetime, Vincent Van Gogh’s ability to bring such simple aspects of nature to life was unmatched during his time. One of his paintings named Irises, which can now be found in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, was something that Van Gogh created after being admitted to hospital for psychiatric illness in May 1889. Despite the high-tensions he was dealing with, he focused instead on the simplicity and beauty of nature. He even said himself that his art was ‘the lightning conductor for [his] illness’ and that ‘if you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.’
Monet is another name in the artist world that everyone knows or has at least heard of. As an artist he often found inspiration from the natural world, particularly his own gardens. Again and again, he showed the ways weather, season, light, and time visually altered the natural world and his paintings illustrated his intrigue. There’s no denying that he was an extremely versatile artist however Monet’s work very clearly holds a continuous dialogue with nature; his work closely correlating and reflecting the natural beauty he found through his extensive travelling.
The world we live in today is one that is becoming increasingly more technology-driven by the minute and it is easy to take the natural world for granted. Taking a step back from the rush of everyday life and appreciating the world around us is important, as there are very few things that can inspire artistic brilliance quite like nature does. From a single flower to a garden to an entire forest landscape, the endless characters and features of Mother Nature will continue to beguile us and influence some of the most outstanding artistic creations in the world.