November 2, 1661
Today is the anniversary of the death of the Flemish Jesuit brother and painter Daniel Seghers.
Daniel was a marvelous painter based in Antwerp and focused mainly on floral still lives, and his vivid work was a favorite among his patrons and the aristocracy. As a Jesuit brother, Daniel made no money from his work - that all went to the church. But in 1649, Daniel was given a golden palette and golden brushes from a Dutch princess in exchange for some of his work.
Daniel pioneered the genre of flower garland painting, and his specialty was painting flower cartouches. Daniel’s garland still lifes were especially popular in his home country of Belgium.
A signature Daniel Segher Floral Cartouche would feature these voluptuous swags of flowers and flower garlands placed around a religious scene or statue that was often depicted in black and white or muted colors. These religious scenes were usually placed in the center of Daniels’ paintings, and incredibly, they were all painted by other Flemish painters. By the time Daniel received the artwork, he would immediately set about decorating the work with flowers. Daniel’s job was to create a floral tribute that added reverence, life, and excitement to the overall image.
If you look at the garlands, you’ll notice that Daniel added charming, realistic touches by adding beautifully detailed butterflies and incredibly realistic flowers. Daniel also took some liberties with the flowers. Tulips and peonies are in full bloom next to roses, iris, carnations, hyacinths, and daisies. For Daniel, bloom time took a back seat to lushness and color. Also, some of the flowers conveyed additional symbolic meaning - so for the sake of Floriography ("FLOOR-EE-ah-grah-FEE"), Daniel painted the flowers he felt best suited his subject.
Ornamental gardeners will find a special joy and satisfaction in viewing Daniel’s masterpieces.