The pomegranate has a certain elusive allure, whether it’s the deep-red color or maze-like interior, and it has found its way into works of art throughout the centuries. Perhaps one of the earliest is Lorenzo di Credi’s Madonna and Child with a Pomegranate, and, like in many Renaissance works, it’s safe to say that the seemingly insignificant objects will have a symbolic meaning, as the pomegranate represents resurrection in this instance. The painting was done in the style of Verrocchio, the then-deceased teacher of Credi, with an attempt to draw inspiration from da Vinci, a fellow student who, comparatively, has a more subtle sense of color and realism.
Jan de Heem’s still-life is very much part of the age of northern European still-life painting, and the pomegranate here is given an unreachable level of lusciousness, as it is depicted meticulously among an equally vivid bouquet. At first glance, it might seem ready to eat, but such perfect paintings have a sense of theatricality about them, as if to remind us of the illusion of such luxury.
Courbet’s Still Life with Apples and Pomegranate seems too meek for an artist of his perspective, but the loose, mesmerizing brushstrokes give the painting Courbet’s signature effect. Chardin, on the other hand, depicts the pomegranate half open, and he shows his skill in portraying almost a reverence for the fruit.
Cezanne is on another level of perception, of course, as he is not concerned with the sensual qualities of pomegranate, but rather evokes something that goes far beyond the physical or familiar. That being said, nothing compares with a eating bowl of pomegranate seeds, and here is the easiest way to deal with such a complicated fruit: submerge it in a bowl of water, separate seeds from flesh, and all of the seeds will sink to the bottom.