Cynara scolymus

Cynara scolymus 'Violetto di Romagna'



29.7 x 42cm

Watercolour on Fabriano Artistico extra white cotton rag 300 gsm

Private Collection

This beautiful vegetable was chosen and sketched one freezing morning in early spring, with a sprinkling of rain.

The artichoke is the edible flower head of a plant from the thistle family. It was brought from the Middle East into Europe in mediaeval times. The naturally occurring variant of the artichoke, the cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), which is native to the Mediterranean area, has records of use as a food among the ancient Greeks and Romans. Names for the artichoke in many European languages today - such as carciofa in Italian - come from Arabic, via mediaeval Spain.

The painting process for this piece was lengthy, given the need to build up the intense colours on the deep purple bracts, whilst preserving the light. Perylene violet was an asset in this task, being both deep-hued and intense.