Continuing this week’s fruity theme here at Zatista: Still-life paintings have been depicted in Art since the beginning of history. Often the fruits and flowers illustrated were assigned symbolic meanings. These meanings may vary across centuries and cultures, but fruit remains a prevalent motif. Below are some of the more popular meanings of fruit from Western Art History.
Oranges were sometimes used in art to represent the social status of a subject. The Dutch Renaissance painters depicted oranges to portray luxury. Citrus fruits were also commonly associated with marriage.
Lemons were used to represent bitterness, a sour heart, or to call to mind exotic southern climates as a sign of prosperity. Citrus fruits were also associated with funerals and the hope of resurrection.
Pineapples have been used as symbol of fertility, and in American history, a symbol of hospitality. They were a popular design motif during the Colonial period.
Pears symbolize faith but also sensuality and temptation, sometimes representing the fruit of the forbidden tree.
Pomegranates were a universally esteemed fruit throughout the many cultures of the world. Generally, they symbolized bountiful fertility and eternal life.
Peaches were a symbol of virtue and immortality, also widespread in Eastern Art.
Apples held dual symbolism, significant of both the Fall of Man and the Redemption. It was also commonly used as an emblem of love and motherhood/fertility.
Figs were commonly linked to the Fall of Man, as Adam and Eve wore fig leaves to cover themselves upon being cast out of the Garden of Eden. They can also represent fertility and abundance.
So, as you savor the meaning of these succulent fruits throughout the year, think not only about what they represent and how they can improve your health, but think about how fruit can improve your walls, as well!