When you see a classic Lladró piece you might wonder why such focus on frilly flowers, women lazing about in long dresses. While it may seem almost archaic, pastoral landscape and depictions of nature have a long and varied cultural significance in art. In the past, nature has been a consistent source of inspiration for commentary regarding the human desire for perfection, for an escape to an ideal paradise which can be seen to resonate across so many different cultures. Many of Lladró’s classical figurines depict groomed gardens, picturesque flowers and women in long flowing gowns, harkening back to another era but what is it about these picturesque moments that connect with so many today?
Lladró’s Living in a Dream Figurine (left) retired in 2023.
There has been a trend in the day and age towards gritty realism. Regardless of what that may reflect on current day society, Lladró offers respite and an idealised representation of nature in their figurines. One that is not at odds with humanity but rather compliments and harmonises. These ideas can be found even all the way back in ancient Greece in the representations of Arcadia and the golden age of harmony between humans and nature. like in the works of Thomas Cole in his ‘Dreams of Arcadia’. These influences are recognisable in Lladró’s Living in a Dream Figurine. The piece both physically and sub textually conveys a very palpable sense of balance and ease. It also captures a fleeting moment in time indicated by the shawl frozen in place giving the piece a dream-like quality as the name might suggest.
Lladró’s In the Balustrade figurine (right).
For many of us, there is something unquestionably satisfying to be found in the depictions of organised, sculpted and refined gardens. Perhaps it is the peace and structure they give to busy minds or they evoke images of pristine country sides or idyllic gardens. Whatever the case, the desire to structure and organise nature is something that stretches across almost every culture. As can be seen in Lladró’s In the Balustrade figurine, that features a woman perfectly framed by an arching branch and surrounded by bright blooming flowers.
With the way she is dressed, it almost references back to the sculpted gardens popular in the manors and palaces of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. There is a sort of effortlessness that comes with this piece that is different again from the Living in Dream figurine, this kind feels like looking at something that has been perfected but has been made to look easy. These feeling that are evoked by pieces such as this are something that is almost universal across cultures as is evident with the sculpted gardens that can be found in Japan, the Middle East, France and so many others.
Time for Reflection Woman Figurine (right).
What is it about utopia and idyllic slices of nature that resonates with us? We long for that taste of paradise or heaven, a tangible sense of perfection and even hope. Lladró’s figurines give that sense of perfection and even respite from a complicated and busy world. Globally, people chase perfection or a glimpse of heaven, a concept which is so broadly shared and has been held for so long throughout history, even before contemporary religions such as Christianity, Islam or Buddhism. While aesthetics may change and fluctuate, Lladró’s classic pieces remain a fixture because of the feelings they evoke that are so enduring.