Reading the article ‘A Comparison between Asymmetric Japanese Ikebana and Symmetric Western Flower Arrangement.’ by Marie Moriyama & Megumi Moriyama, (in the journal Forma, 1999) made me wonder again about ideas about flowers in western art. That article was linked to by Christopher James, in his piece Teaching Ikebana in Australia.
When I think of flowers in art, I think of still life paintings. Reading the wikipedia page on still lifes led me to Gerard de Lairesse's Groot schilderboek (1712), and specifically the 12th book of that work, the treatise on flowers. I feel very lucky that such things are available on the internet (thank you bibliotheck voor de Nederlandse lettern). However, it is a bit intimidating as a text, and I feel like it will only be a starting point for understanding more about the subject.