This year the Spring Equinox for the northern hemisphere falls on the 20th March. The equinox is when day and night are the same lengths. The word equinox meaning ‘equal night’‚ in Latin.
To many cultures, Spring equinox is traditionally celebrated as a time of rebirth with spring holidays and festivals. As we emerge from the colder days of Winter and nature seems to start waking up it always seems a time of joy and hope.
Spring is a season rich in symbolism and physical natural beauty which has made it a popular subject of artists across history. Enjoy this poem by Thomas Nashe and the accompanying paintings on the subject of Spring…
Spring, the sweet spring
by THOMAS NASHE (1567–1601 )
Spring, the sweet spring, is the year’s pleasant king,
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherds pipe all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet:
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to witta-woo!
Spring, the sweet spring!
Spring in France – 1890; Robert William Vonnoh; American; 1858 – 1933. Photo: HUM Images/UIG The Promise of Spring, 1890. Alma-Tadema, Sir Lawrence. Photo: Picturesnow/UIG California Spring, 1875. Bierstadt, Albert. Photo: Picturesnow/UIG Field of Spring Wheat at Sunrise, Van Gogh, Vincent Willem, 1889. Photo: Picturesnow/UIG Enjoying Spring Day, Tissot, James Jacques Joseph, 1865. Photo: Picturesnow/UIG Fishing Near a Bridge, Van Gogh, Vincent Willem, 1887. Photo: Picturesnow/UIG Flora: Spring in the Gardens, 1877. Alma-Tadema, Sir Lawrence. Photo: Picturesnow/UIG Claude Monet (1840-1926). French painter. Spring by the Seine, 1878. National Gallery. Oslo. Norway. Photo: Prisma/UIG Paul Cezanne: The Spring House (La Conduite d’eau), Paul Cezanne, circa 1879, Oil on canvas. Photo: Sepia Times/UIG The Coming of Spring, EA Hornel, 1899. Photo: Avalon/UIG Spring Morning, ca. 1875, Oil on canvas, 22 x 16 3/4 in. (55.9 x 42.5 cm), Paintings, James Tissot. Photo: Sepia Times/UIG Dream of Spring (Rêve de printemps). William-Adolphe Bouguereau (French. 1825-1905). 1901. oil on canvas. Photo: Sepia Times/UIG Claude Monet, French, 1840–1926, Spring in Giverny, 1890, Oil on canvas. Photo: Sepia Times/UIG Spring’, circa 1900s Artist: Arthur Herbert Buckland, R. B. A., (1870-1927). Painter of romantic landscape subjects, genre and portraits. Born at Taunton, studied art at the Academie Julian in Paris. Photo: WHA/UIG Union Square in Spring’, 1896 by Artist: Frederick Childe Hassam. Hassam was a resident of New York City and his favourite subjects were aspects of New York life, presented with a light, sparkling palette. He was known for variations in brushstroke and texture. Photo: WHA/UIG Spring (Fruit Trees in Bloom), 1873, Oil on canvas, 24 1/2 x 39 5/8 in. (62.2 x 100.6 cm), Paintings, Claude Monet (French, Paris 1840–1926 Giverny), Monet made this work in the vicinity of his home in Argenteuil, a village on the Seine northwest of Paris that was a favorite gathering place of the Impressionists. Photo: Sepia Times/UIG The Flowering Orchard, 1888, Oil on canvas, Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), The arrival of spring in Arles in 1888 found Van Gogh ‘in a fury of work.’ As he wrote to his brother Theo, ‘the trees are in blossom and I would like to do a Provencal orchard of tremendous gaiety.’ Between late March and late April, the artist dedicated fourteen canvases to the subject, working in a range of sizes, formats, and styles. Photo: Sepia Times/UIG Landscape: The Parc Monceau, 1876, Oil on canvas, Claude Monet (1840-1926). Situated on the boulevard de Courcelles in Paris and surrounded by fashionable town houses, the Parc Monceau was planned in the late eighteenth century in the form of an English garden. Monet painted three views of the park in the spring of 1876. Photo: Sepia Times/UIG Hasui Kawase (川瀬 巴水 Kawase Hasui, 1883-1957) was a prominent Japanese painter of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and one of the chief printmakers in the shin-hanga (‘new prints’) movement. Photo: Pictures from History/UIG China/Taiwan: ‘Spring at West Lake’ (Xihu Hangzhou), oil on canvas, Chen Cheng-po/Chen Chengbo (1895-1947), 1934. Photo: Pictures from History/UIG Early Spring Afternoon–Central Park, Willard Leroy Metcalf, American, 1858-1925, Oil on canvas, 1911. Photo: Sepia Times/UIG The Seine by the Island of Jatte in Spring. Georges-Pierre Seurat (1859-1891). Photo: Buyenlarge Cote des Grouettes, near Pontoise, probably 1878, Oil on canvas, , Camille Pissarro (French, 1830-1903). The patch of purple flowers at the lower left adds a sprightly note to this canvas, which probably dates to the spring of 1878. Featuring strollers on a path, it is typical of Pissarro’s views of Pontoise and its surroundings, almost all of which show the peasants who worked the land or lived in the village. Photo: Sepia Times/UIG
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