Cypress tree art is a category that depicts both natural and manicured cypress trees. From the surreal imaginings of Van Gogh to the rich colors of Nancy O'Toole, cypress tree art is an expansive example of natural paintings in both modern and traditional depictions.
As works of contemporary tree art, cypress prints are generally divided into two categories; manicured and natural. Although this may not seem like much of a difference, the appearance of a cypress tree, and thus cypress tree art can change considerably depending on whether it is manicured or natural. While the most common form is manicured because of the wild nature of natural cypress tree images, both types are depicted fairly evenly.
Photography frequently takes advantage of the curling, wild forms of natural cypress trees. These emotive tree photographs typically take advantage of the ancient Greek symbolism of cypress trees being associated with Hades, the god of the Underworld. Because of this, contemporary cypress art focus on evoking emotions of mystery and haunted atmospheres, as seen in the cypress tree photograph, 'Cypresses, Skyline Drive, South San Francisco, 1996' by Mark Citret.
Many of the examples of manicured cypress tree art are seen in Italian landscape paintings. The most commonly recognized nature paintings that depict these trees are Van Gogh's 'A Wheat Field with Cypresses, c. 1889' and other surreal self-portrait works. Yet, there are many artists who choose to use manicured cypresses in their depictions of Italy, which usually depict sun-soaked Tuscany or other areas where cypress trees are commonly used for decoration.