Strawberries

I found this great book, “Flowers of the Renaissance” by Celia Fisher. Too bad we weren’t focusing on flowers of the Renaissance as much as vegetables. Regardless, this book was very intererestiing. It gave a brief history of the flowers and gardens of the Renaissance era.  It also explained the different meanings of the native flowers and gave examples of each flower in the paintings of that era. Although I am not able to use a lot of the information about the different flowers, I am able to give some information about strawberries. Wild strawberries in Europe were very plentiful and grew like grass. They could be seen on lawns or in gardens between the flowers. As stated in the book, “Two species of European strawberries provided the beloved little fruits that could be gathered wild or cultivated in gardens” (pg. 151). During the 17th century, a new type of strawberry was introduced to Europe from the New World. Over time, these strawberries were hybridized and had larger fruits.  The flavor of the wild strawberries were much sweeter than the larger hybrid strawberries. The different symbolic meanings of strawberries discussed in this book were very interesting.  Strawberries symbolized lust and temptation. Also they represented a more religious meaning. “The white flowers and red fruit stood for purity and for Christ’s redeeming blood. The three parts of a strawberry leaf reflected the doctrine of the Trinity, that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were distinct entities joined in one God” (pg. 149). The book also shows many Renaissance paintings where strawberries were used to symbolize different things. A great painting shown in this book is Allegory of Summer by Lucas van Valckenborch, c.1595 (shown below). Strawberries may not have been the main source of sustenance in the Renaissance but I believe they had some significance in the daily lives of the people. Image

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