Sep 012012

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.


Credits to the writer, Costas Vasilopoulos of the Olive Oil Times.

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