In art, the poppy plant is an emblem of the gods of sleep (Hypnos), of dreams (Morpheus), and allegory of Night. This symbolism is founded on the poppy’s properties. It used to grow as a wildflower in Greece and has been used for herbal tincture since ancient times.
The idea of this painting is connected with another picture of the artist called Walnut of Eden. While the latter reflects the state of paradise for Man, Opium Lovers reflects the state of Man after the fall into sin. This is the French poet Charles Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil, sprouted on the field of world disharmony. All the world illnesses first affect art. “There is the beauty, unknown to the ancient people,” Baudelaire wrote. What is this beauty? It is a human as he is, with all his good and evil. This is the world of his dreams and visions. Other artists have expressed similar themes: for example, Picasso’s Absent Lover is absolutely detached from the outside world and submerged into the world of her own reveries.