Bloom Boom
Categories: art, flowers

By: Michelina Docimo

Semper Augustus. A painting of the most expensive tulip in the world from the 17th century craze, Tulipomania.

During the Dutch Golden Age, the price of tulip bulbs reached an all-time high causing an economic bubble called Tulipomania.  The flower was considered a luxury and the more exotic the species, the greater the value.  What created the value?  Disease!  This watercolor of the Semper Augustus is an image of the most expensive tulip to be sold in this 17th century market which traded at 5,500 florins (the equivalent of $133,650 worth of gold.  The streaks in color were a result of a tulip virus.  Bulbs were traded as a commodity but crashed quickly because the same virus that gave  these tulips their worthy marks, also caused the bulb to weaken.  This flower frenzy provoked fashion trends in all things tulip and to this day, the tulip remains a symbol of the Dutch culture.


Leave a Reply