This is the last weekend before the Feasting on Art Recipe Contest deadline. Submit your entries now to be in the running to win a copy of the cookbook, Food of the Louvre.
Historically, the pomegranate was used to symbolise fertility due to the mythical origins of the fruit. As related by Silvia Malaguzzi in her book Food and Feasting in Art, the god Acdestis, violent and lustful, was “handed over to Bacchus, who got him drunk. Once Acdestis had passed out, Bacchus tied up his feet and genitals. When Acdetis woke up, blood seeping from his genitals formed the pomegranate. The fruit was taken to the nymph Nana, who became pregnant by it and gave birth to Atys” (1). From the outside, the pomegranate is a fairly inauspicious fruit. It was not until I sliced it open, the crimson juice staining the cutting board and splattering on my clothes, that the corporeal aspect of the fruit was revealed. Within the iconography of the Christian Church, the pomegranate represents the blood of Christ. The name is derived from the Latin pōmum meaning apple and grānātus meaning seeded. Beating a section of the fruit with the back of a spoon yields a scattering of round ruby seeds. The pomegranate is sometimes thought to be the forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden, similar to the ‘garden of paradise’ of Qur’an where the ancient fruit with the jewel-like seeds grew (2).
Jacob van Hulsdonck, Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Pomegranate, c.1620-40
oil on panel, 42 x 49.5 cm, The Getty Collection
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