The Ancient Origins of a Snapchat Filter

The flower crown is nowadays a stylish accessory synonymous with Coachella revelers and boho brides, but it ’ s not new : erosion leaves and flowers as a headstall has a rich history dating back to the ancient authoritative world. Since antiquity, the round or horseshoe form of the wreath has been a symbol of glory, power, and eternity. In ancient Greece and Rome many crowns were made of wool and leaf such as myrtle and ivy leaves, and were adorned with unlike flowers, which held versatile associations through time .
ancient gods and goddesses were often represented in art and literature wearing specific plants dedicated to them. In Ovid ’ second Metamorphoses, the beautiful nymph Daphne manages to escape her pursuer, the deity Apollo, by turning herself into a laurel tree. Apollo cuts off a arm from the corner and exclaims, “ Although you can not be my wife, you shall at least be my corner ; I shall always wear you on my hair’s-breadth, on my quiver, O Laurel. ” ( 557–559 ). He keeps his word, and as a consequence is frequently depicted wearing a laurel wreath as a symbol of his love for Daphne. Apollo is the idol of poets and writers, and the term poet laureate that we use today comes from this myth .
White poplar leaves were associated with Hercules, who, according to custom, imported the tree to Olympia from northwest Greece.

Nude statue of a man with a beard Statue of Hercules, A.D. 100–199, Roman. marble with polychromy, 46 in. high. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 73.AA.43.1 Hercules wearing a wreath The ancient Greeks first base introduced the crown as an honorary reinforce for victors in athletic, military, poetic, and musical contests. For case, the Pythian Games were held at Delphi every four years in honor of Apollo, and winners traditionally received a wreath of bay laurel. The bay laurel tree is native to the Mediterranean area, and it stood as an crucial symbol of victory, accomplishment, and condition .
olive wreaths were besides awarded to winners of acrobatic competitions, like the bare new man shown below. Wild olive trees grew at Olympia where the Olympic games were held, and olive wreaths were given as prizes to victors at these games. He might have been a runner, wrestler, or system of weights booster, who is crowning himself or removing the wreath to dedicate it to the gods as a augury of pienty .Bronze statue of a nude young man raising his right hand to his head. The lower legs are missing. Statue of a Victorious Youth, 300–100 B.C., Greek, Bronze with inlaid copper nipples, 59 5/8 in. high. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 77.AB.30 A young man crowning himself with an olive wreath The symbolism of the laurel wreath survives to this day. It featured prominently on the decoration design for the 2016 Rio Olympics, for example .
The ancient Romans continued the custom of the peak as a reinforce for victory. They dressed their leaders and military personnel in crowns made of laurel, oak, or myrtle. The grass crown or corona obsidionalis was the highest military honor, awarded by a besiege army to the general who liberated them. It was made of grass, weeds, and wildflowers gathered on the spot where the army had been attacked .A profile of a man wearing a laurel wreath, which indicated that he was likely of high military rank. Cameo, 1700s–1800s, European. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 83.AL.257.15, Bequest of Eli Djeddah A profile of a man wearing a laurel wreath, which indicated that he was probable of high military rate Flower crowns were besides worn for festivities and celebrations, a lot like they are today ; they were accustomed at events such as sacrifices to Gods and feasts. In depictions of greek men at symposium ( aristocratic drink parties ) we frequently see figures wearing wreaths. They believed that tying a taenia tight around their heads could ease their drunkenness—though today ’ s festivals goers might disagree. These were primitively made of wool but by and by decorated with flowers and petals from roses, violets, myrtle, and parsley .Inside of a cup shows a young man holding a wine cup and a taller man holding a pitcher wine Cup with a Youth and a Man, 450–440 B.C., Attributed to the Euaion Painter. Terracotta, 15 9/16 in. diameter. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 86.AE.682 Get Inspired

Enjoy stories about art, and news program about Getty exhibitions and events, with our release e-newsletter subscribe nowadays In Rome, the Floralia festival was held in honor of Flora, goddess of flowers, vegetation, and spring—so it ’ s no surprise that a headstall made of flower petals and interlacing vines was the must-have accessary. In this theatrical performance of a statue of Flora, she is portray holding her flower peak .Statue of a woman in a loose dress holding a flowered veil Farnese Flora figurine, 1871, William Chaffers. Woodburytype, 4 3/4 × 3 11/16 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 84.XB.935.23.3.83 In Europe this religious festival was late celebrated as the layman May Day. In Alma-Tadema ’ s painting give, the artist represents this celebration and the custom of sending children out to pick flowers on the first day of May. A progress of women and children wear colored floral crowns and carry baskets of flowers. Alma-Tadema was obsessed with the ancient universe, and he even set this victorian celebration in an complex number ancient Rome .A procession of women and young girls wearing flowered crowns walks down a narrow street of classical-style buildings with people hanging from the windows and roofs. jump, 1894, Lawrence Alma-Tadema. anoint on canvass, 70 1/4 × 31 5/8 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 72.PA.3 A procession of women and children wearing brilliantly colored flower crowns Although the flower peak was popular in the ancient global, as Christianity spread it fell out of favor due to its association with hedonist festivals. But it made a comeback in Renaissance art, as artists and scholars looked again to the classical past for divine guidance .
In advanced times we much see flower crowns used as a admonisher of the ancient Mediterranean universe. As just one model, german photographer Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden used the flower crowns in portraits he created of in Sicily, as a symbol of his subjects ’ ancient heritage .Sepia-toned photo of boy with no shirt, wearing a lily wreath on his head and holding a tall bouquet of lilies. Boy with Lillies, about 1890–1914, Baron Wilhelm von Gloeden. Toned gelatin silver print, 8 3/8 × 6 1/4 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 84.XM.631.12 A son wearing a lily wreath even the bridal pennant, it turns out, has ancient roots. The Roman bride would wear a crown made of verbena that she herself had picked. In modern times, Queen Victoria made the practice fashionable by wearing a crown of orange blossoms in her hair on her wedding day to prince Albert on February 10, 1840. It was besides during the victorian earned run average that interest in “ floriography ” rose, with women often depicted wearing flowers to communicate a personal assign. The orange blossom, for case, is a symbol of virtue .A bride sits, wearing a wedding gown and flower wreath with a veil, holding a card, with a tall bouquet of flowers in her lap. portrait of a Bride with Orange Blossoms, 1907–1943, Louis Fleckenstein. Gelatin ash grey print, 9 7/16 x 7 in. The J. Paul Getty Museum, 85.XM.28.275

today the drift of clothing fronds and flowers continues in a variety show of ways—as a symbol of victory, celebration, love, romance, or femininity, whether you ’ re wearing a wreath to a festival or donning a digital interpretation on Snapchat .

Want to try it for yourself?

Try it at home with these YouTube tutorials .

Further Reading

A few good sources for delving deep into the historic roots of the flower peak :

  • Grossman, Janet Burnett. Athletes in Antiquity: Works from the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum, exh. cat. (Salt Lake City, UT: Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 2002).
  • Meagher, Jennifer. Botanical Imagery in European Painting, Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.
  • Ovid. Metamorphoses, Perseus Digital Library.
  • Smith, William. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, LacusCurtius.
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