Cochineal Red Wisteria

From the series "Seville Triptych" 'Cochineal Red Wisteria'. 'Jasminum officinale L. (Common Jasmine) and 'Wisteria sinensis Sweet' (Chinese wisteria) intertwine in large abundance over the external deep Cochineal red walls in the Jewish Quarter outside the Alcázar. Your senses are overwhellmed with the scent of the wisteria, striking clusters of butterfly shaped lilac flowers which give off an intoxicating aroma. They cover the gallery of the Garden of Galera in the Real Alcázar - in winter letting light and heat in and in summer sifting the intense light by forming this beautiful natural lattice of abundant leaves. In the background the sound of sparkling waters from a nearby marble fountain with tiered cascades is being visted by a graceful white dove.

Jasmine is often considered the flower of Paradise, or the symbol of divine love. Since the jasmine flowers precisely in May, the month dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the flower is associated with her image. It is also highly valued in Islamic culture, we know from a fragment of an ancient Arabic poem that King al-Mutamid loved the scent of jasmine, and would have filled his gardens with the wonderful plant the during his dynasty in Seville between 1040-1095.

Cochineal red pigment extracted from the tiny bettle which lives on the Prickily Pear plant, was one of the colours the Spanish tresure fleets brought in peak quanity from the Americas during the 16th and 17th Centuries. Only the ports at Seville and Cadiz were permitted to import the pigment. The wonderous deep scarlet colour was used in profusion, in the 16th Century textiles were dyed in the brightest and most saturated red dyers had ever seen, followed by use within the European painters palette as seen within Baroque paintings from the beginning of the 17th Century.

Mixed media on canvas in handmade frame 183 cm h x 85 cm unframed 202 cm h x 100 cm w m 4.5 cm d