Art Inspired by Costa Rica Dulcinea

Welcome to the first day of Spring! Let’s celebrate with a look at Costa Rica inspired florals and the literary influences for which the artist so affectionately named them.

“Let everyone in the world halt, unless the entire world acknowledges that nowhere on earth is there a damsel more beautiful than the Empress of La Mancha, she who has no equal, Dulcinea Del Toboso.” — Don Quixote

Artwork Monday

Contemporary Artist Paolo Ferraris can attribute a direct connection between the books of his youth and the names of his Flores Tropicales works. Many of his Costa Rica inspired florals are named after a romantic, heroic or mythical character. Dulcinea is the perfect example.

Dulcinea del Toboso, a character in Miguel de Cervantes novel Don Quixote is a figment of the imagination. Her beauty, as her existence unreal. Imagined by Don Quixote, a character romantically carried away by the stories he reads.

“Her name is Dulcinea, her country El Toboso, a village of La Mancha, her rank must be at least that of a princess, since she is my queen and lady, and her beauty superhuman, since all the impossible and fanciful attributes of beauty which the poets apply to their ladies are verified in her; for her hairs are gold, her forehead Elysian fields, her eyebrows rainbows, her eyes suns, her cheeks roses, her lips coral, her teeth pearls, her neck alabaster, her bosom marble, her hands ivory, her fairness snow, and what modesty conceals from sight such, I think and imagine, as rational reflection can only extol, not compare.”

Dulcinea to Paolo is a beauty, a flower pushed through imagination into a burst of luscious color.

Dulcinea by Paolo Ferraris Colors
Dulcinea by Paolo Ferraris

Costa Rica Inspired Art

Visiting Costa Rica in the summer of 2013, Paolo and his wife succumbed to the Pura Vida effect. Countless hours were spent walking, connecting with nature.

Paolo recalls the flowers of Costa Rica, through symbolism seen in his work.

“We give a rose to someone we love but truly we’re projecting our imagination of love and beauty onto the flower. Flowers are beautiful but they are also a symbol of life. They bloom, they grow, they die. As in life we do. Each piece in my collection is a mythological story. An invention that we make up to entertain ourselves. Like the colors seen in my work. I push them to entertain myself, until they match the idea of beauty I have in my mind.” — Paolo Ferraris, Artist

Finding Inspiration

Artists’ influences can come into play in their work, from many points in their life. Some connections are conscious and direct, while others perhaps less immediate.

When asking Paolo why he connected literature with flowers, he thought for a minute. Then he recalled books he had read in the home of his youth, in Italy.

Novels by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. “In Italy, Gabriel Garcia Marquez novels had covers with the most beautiful paintings of flowers and birds.”

Paolo, an only child, read a great deal growing up. Books were his gateway to the world he now travels.

Curious about early memories, Paolo reached out to his Mother in Italy. To see if the books he recalled reading were still at home. If opening their pages would unlock the name of the painters whose work became an early influence on him.

Elena returned four photos later that evening. Two covers and two inside panels that indeed revealed the artists’ names. Martin Johnson Heade and Robert Thornton.

Though the techniques are decidedly different, the connection is there. Beautiful flowers and fantastic characters, stories to get carried away in.

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