Eight Painters Who Loved Olive Trees

Olive trees and olive groves have been favorite subjects for some of the greatest artists. Here are seven masters who shared an obvious appreciation of the olive.

Olive Tree Wood in the Moreno Garden - Claude Monet
Aug. 21, 2012
By Costas Vasilopoulos
Olive Tree Wood in the Moreno Garden - Claude Monet

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Olive trees and olive groves have been a favourite sub­ject for some of the great­est artists. From the Renaissance painters of the 15th cen­tury to the con­tem­po­rary painters, olives are depicted in var­i­ous styles and forms, each a trib­ute to the magic of this tree.

1 Claude Monet

A pio­neer of impres­sion­ism, Monet cre­ated his own approach to land­scape paint­ing. A lover of nature, he was inspired by trees and plants through­out his life.

2 Edgar Degas

One of the founders of Impressionism, Degas dumped law school to become an artist. His olive trees paint­ing is an excep­tional sam­ple of Impressionism, though Degas pre­ferred to con­sider him­self a real­ist.

3 William Merritt Chase

A well-known American painter, Chase mostly cre­ated por­traits but also some excel­lent paint­ings depict­ing land­scapes. He used to rent a house near Florence and spend his sum­mers there, hence his con­cern with olive trees and groves.

4 John Singer Sargent

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of real­ism and impres­sion­ism, Sargent was born in Venice to American par­ents and stayed in Paris and London. His works are of aston­ish­ing detail and he liked to work en plein air, mean­ing out in the open using the nat­ural light.

5 Salvadore Dali

Salvador Dali, the great artist of Surrealism, painted his olive trees in 1922. He reg­u­larly vis­ited Cadaques, a town at the Girona region of south­ern Spain, and was inspired by its sur­round­ing nature.

6 El Greco

El Greco, who lived dur­ing the Spanish Renaissance and was mainly con­cerned with reli­gious sub­jects, cre­ated Christ in the Olive Garden with his char­ac­ter­is­tic style of elon­gated fig­ures and objects in 1563.

7 Henri Matisse

His mas­tery of the expres­sive lan­guage of colour and draw­ing, dis­played in a body of work span­ning over a half-cen­tury, won Henri Matisse recog­ni­tion as a lead­ing fig­ure in mod­ern art. Painted in Collioure, a scenic town on the Mediterranean coast that drew many painters of the day, Promenade among the Olive Trees” is one of the ear­li­est and most impor­tant paint­ings of Matisse’s Fauve period.

8 Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh, the famous Dutch painter, was par­tic­u­larly inspired by olive trees and left quite a lot of draw­ings in his exquis­ite Post-Impressionism style depict­ing olive trees and olive groves. His set­tle­ment in south­ern France brought bright col­ors to his palette which he used to cre­ate some of the most mag­nif­i­cent pieces of art the world has ever seen.

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