The Appeal Of Lemons: Appearance And Meaning In Mid Seventeenth-Century Dutch Paintings Public Deposited

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  • September 6, 2022
  • Piepmeier, Mary
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Art and Art History, Art History
  • In the seventeenth century, Dutch artists produced over a quarter-million paintings that reflected a thriving global market and socio-cultural responses to prosperity. Although markets overflowed with new commodities depicted in paintings, the lemon held a prominent place. Despite increasing art historical interest in the specific elements of Dutch paintings, the lemon has received little scholarly attention. This thesis explores the prevalence of lemons in seventeenth-century still life and genre paintings and argues that their recurrent presence indicates the multivalent significance of lemons for both viewer and artist through three levels of meaning. The representations of lemons describe their numerous functions: they represent market and culinary practices, they are objects that convey interest in Greek mythology and Protestant moral values, and they reflect interest in vision and perception. “Reading” lemons in specific visual contexts through the lens of contemporary treatises offers viewers insight into how the Dutch saw and made meaning.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Rovine, Victoria
  • String, Tatiana
  • Levine, Cary
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2018

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