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In art and symbolism
The Purple Iris is the State Flower of Tennessee.
The artist George Gessert has specialised in breeding irises.4
The artist Vincent van Gogh painted several famous pictures of irises.5
The American artist, Joseph Mason — a great friend of John James Audubon — painted a precise image of what was then known as the Lousianna Flag or Copper Iris (Iris cuprea) to which Audubon subsequently added two Northern Paraula birds (parula americana) for inclusion as Plate 15 in his Birds of America.
The artist Philip Hermogenes Calderon painted an iris in his 1856 work Broken Vows; he followed the principles of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. An ancient belief is that the iris serves as a warning to be heeded, as it was named for the messenger of Olympus. It also conveys images of lost love and silent grief, for young girls were led into the afterlife by Iris. Broken Vows was accompanied with poetry by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow when it was first exhibited.6
The fleur-de-lis, a stylized iris, first occurs in its modern use as the emblem of the House of Capet. The fleur-de-lis has been associated with France as Louis VII adopted it as a symbol in the 12th Century. The yellow fleur-de-lis reflects the Yellow Iris (I. pseudacorus), common in Western Europe. Contemporary uses can be seen in the Quebec flag and the logo of the New Orleans Saints professional football team, and on the flag of Saint Louis, Missouri.
The red fleur-de-lis in the coat-of-arms of Florence (Italy) descends from the white iris which is native to Florence and which grew even in its city walls. This white iris, displayed against a red background, became the symbol of Florence until the Medici family, to signal a change in political power, reversed the colors making the white one red and setting in motion a centuries-long breeding program to hybridize a red iris.
Furthermore, the fleur-de-lis is the almost-universal symbol of Scouting and one of the symbols adopted by the sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma.
A stylized Yellow Iris is the symbol of Brussels, since historically, the important Saint Gaugericus Island was carpeted in them.7 The iris symbol is now the sole feature on the flag of the Brussels-Capital Region.
An iris – species unspecified – is one of the state flowers of Tennessee. Tradition holds that the particular iris symbolizing Tennessee is a purple cultivar, to go alongside the wild-growing Purple Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) which is the state’s other floral emblem.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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