Ogata Kōrin's Flowers make a loving Valentine’s Day gift

Searching for a timely yet timeless lover’s gift? Here’s why, this February 14, you should pluck a copy of Flower for them
Irises at Yatsuhashi (Eight Bridges), c.1709 by Ogata Kōrin
Irises at Yatsuhashi (Eight Bridges), c.1709 by Ogata Kōrin

Give them a copy of our book Flower this Valentine’s Day and your loving tribute will live on in their heart for years. This beautifully illustrated book, subtitled Exploring the World in Bloom, really does deliver a wealth of colour, created by fine artists, filmmakers, photographers, commercial illustrators, botanists and other flowery visionaries, from across the world.

Flower is a wonderful gift for the romantically inclined, simply because a great many images featured in it employ flowers to tell such beautiful love stories. Consider, for example, this incredible piece of lacquerwork by the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Japanese artist Ogata Kōrin for instance. Those folding screens in the image above open up an ancient tale of lost love.

“Irises at Yatsuhashi is considered one of his masterpieces and an outstanding example of Rinpa, the interdisciplinary design aesthetic first established fifty years before in Kyoto by the artists Tawaraya Sōtatsu and Hon’ami Kōetsu,” reads the text in Flower.


Flower: Exploring the World in Bloom


“The image is based on an episode from the tenth-century romance story Ise monogatari, in which a poet in exile from Kyoto stops to rest at Yatsuhashi where the river splits into eight channels, each with their own bridge.

“Here he composes a wistful elegy both to a lost love and a lost city, the first letter of each line forming the Japanese word for irises, kakitsubata. This is a work steeped in Japanese folklore and artistic tradition, yet it is also profoundly modern. In revitalizing Rinpa, Kōrin became part of the story of successive waves of artistic revival in Japan. Its influence reaches down through the centuries to Vincent van Gogh’s exuberant irises, the blocky constructions of Paul Cézanne, the abstractions of Henri Matisse and perhaps most of all the decorative finishes and abstracted natural forms that characterize Art Nouveau."

To send this beautiful, whistful work to your loved-one, alongside many, many other romantic, floral images order a copy of Flower: Exploring the World in Bloom from our store now - in time for Valentine’s Day delivery!



Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.
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