The Art of the Lilac

At the crux of nature and art is the featured painting by Matisse. Currently on exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, it’s a relatively calm piece, color-wise, for the artist, but one that perfectly captures the subtle shades of a bush known less for showmanship and more for fragrance. Beyond the meeting of art and nature, there is the matter of perfume – a very important matter indeed.

Lilacs seem to remind many people of their childhood, and I’m no exception. I distinctly remember the lilac bushes in our front and back yards, and the way their flowers held the water so often falling from the sky at this time of the year. Their heart-shaped leaves were the purest form of green (enjoy them now, as they usually succumb to mildew once the humidity of summer hits).

Matisse captured their subtlety in a vase, and the accompanying gray atmosphere that early spring sometimes signifies. Rain abounds during lilac season, and their subtle shades work well against a dull sky. The softness of their visage deceptively belies the perfume they produce, and it is this exquisite fragrance that pulls me, and so many others, blissfully back to childhood, and back to the beginning.

Of a season.

Of a life.

Of a lilac.

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