The illustrated pomegranate above is by Eliza Jewett, a talented botanical artist. Her training in the field of Biology and her practice as an artist culminate in variuos iterations of work in scientific publications, individual art projects and illustration.
Her work depicts in great detail the physical characteristics of birds, insects, landscapes, and ecological processes or relationships. Here an early work with gouache captures an opened pomegranate. More of her work can be seen here.
Pomegranates have lived in the psyche and textiles of cultures through the ages. An exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art explored the pomegranates heroic presence. The exhibit, small yet concise, will run until Feb 21st, 2010.
The latin name derives from the teaming of two words: seeded and apple. The fruit is renowned for its healthful and medicinal properties, such as it’s antioxidant properties. It is used to treat a variety of illnesses, and appears as a result in the coats of arms of various medical associations.
In Greek mythology the fruit appears in the story of Persephone, stolen by Hades to the underworld. It was a symbol to the Helenic world of marriage, life and regeneration, which equally translated in medieval times to a symbol of fertility. The unicorn tapestries depict pomegranate fruits growing within a circular fenced area that has trapped the unicorn. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a number of these beautiful Medieval tapestries in their collection, housed in the Cloisters. Interestingly the depiction of the pomegranate leaves is more akin to a pineapple tree than a pomegranate tree. The depiction of the fruit that appear in the tapestries is real enough, but the stalk on which they grow is quite imaginary , possibly as the weavers of the tapestry had only ever purchased these fruits from warmer climes but never seen the trees and leaves upon which they grew.