About the Artwork

In Passion Flowers and Hummingbirds Heade depicted two small, black-and-white Snowcap hummingbirds, a species found in Panama, and the most brilliantly colored species of passionflower, Passiflora racemosa, in a steamy, lush jungle setting. The passionflower is so named because missionaries saw correspondences between the parts of the flower and the Passion (or sufferings) of Christ: the ten petals represent the ten apostles present at the crucifixion, the corona filaments resemble the crown of thorns, and the three stigmas relate to the nails in the cross. In this work, Heade successfully combined his scientific interests with his aesthetic sensitivity, accurately rendering the birds and the passionflowers in a close-up view while gracefully composing the winding stems across the surface of the picture and contrasting the cool jungle greens and grays with the dazzling red of the flowers.

Heade’s paintings were informed by a worldview recently revolutionized by British naturalist Charles Darwin; to support the theories about evolution in his book The Effects of Cross and Self Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom (1876), Darwin specifically mentioned the adaptation of hummingbird beaks to fertilize passionflowers. Although Heade was one of the first to reflect Darwin’s theories in his paintings of flowers in their natural habitats, other artists, such as John La Farge, were subsequently inspired by Darwin’s theories of evolution and the role of interrelationships in the natural world.

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About Our Products

MFA Boston Custom Prints offers exclusive custom reproductions of artworks in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston collection. Thanks to gallery-quality materials, we create prints as true to the original work as possible, using strict color management protocols and state-of-the-art printing technology.
All reproductions you find in this store are approved by MFA Boston. We are continually adding new artworks to our offering, so be sure to check back regularly as you build your own gallery. A variety of molding styles means our custom framed prints can match any type of decor.

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Museum members will receive their member discount for all orders placed through our Custom Prints store. Simply enter your member id during the checkout process. Once your membership has been validated your discount will be applied.