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The Beauty Of A Peony

            "There isn't a single person or landscape or subject which doesn't possess some interest, although it may not be immediately apparent. When a painter discovers this hidden treasure, other people are immediately struck by its beauty." This quotation is personified in Gabor Nagy's recent piece: "The Pleasure of Peonies".
             The painting is a vibrant and rich representation of peonies in a vase. The collage of colors is imbued with brightness in strokes of red, fucia, pink and white. Quick, thick brush strokes produce an overbearing bouquet of flowers; reflected inside a multi-colored vase, against the glossy finish of a supporting table. Despite the avoidance of botanically precise blossoms, light lines can be seen throughout the petals depicting the life force of the plant. A dark background is used to draw one's attention to the blooms. Light seems to dance to his chromatic orchestration expressing dimension, feeling and environment. .
             The beauty of the peony flower has long inspired artists in both the eastern and western parts of the world. Prior to the seventeenth century however, it was the artists of China and Japan who incorporated images of the peony into their work. In Japan the peony is known as the flower of riches and honor, symbolizing wealth and distinction. It is also an omen of good fortune. Paintings of peonies are often hung in the home for good luck and in the office for good business. In China the flower is an emblem of love and affection, and a symbol of feminine beauty. In the ancient Chinese "Book of Odes", amorous youths and maidens give each other peonies. The white version of the flower traditionally symbolizes young girls who are distinguished by their wit and beauty. Red has long been regarded as a life-giving color, thus red peonies are admired and highly valued.
             The flower came to the art of the western world much later than that of Asian culture and never attained the same level of use.

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