Pomological wonders

CALIFORNIA PEARS 1920s Vintage Pear Crate Label (P034) from The Label Man

Blame it on Leafless, whose recent post on peaches reminded me that, with warm weather arriving, our neighborhood farm stands will soon be offering a bounty of local fruits and vegetables for purchase. And while Leafless is enjoying an abundant peach harvest, I hope to feast on my favorite fruit: the pear. What can I say about the succulent, shapely, and sexy pear? With its distinctive shape, smooth skin, and golden yellow or green coloring often blushed with red, it’s one of natures most attractive of fruits. Its flesh is firm, sweet, aromatic, and crunchy, its shape fitting firmly in the palm of the hand.

Apparently I’m not the only one enamored with this most sexy of fruits. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service offers 345 scanned images of historic watercolors of pears from the collection at the USDA National Agricultural Library.

Pyrus communis “Summer Beauty” by Deborah Griscom Passmore. Specimen No.: 5196, Grower’s State: Texas, Watercolor Date: 1893. From the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection.

The USDA National Agricultural Library’s collection of fruit watercolors includes illustrations of pears, apples, berries, and other fruit varieties. Take a moment to visit the collection: It attests to both the lusciousness of the fruit and the skill of the painter. Indeed it takes a gifted artist to accurately capture the beauty of the fruit and portray it accurately on canvas. The task involves more than mere mimesis. The artist must capture the spiritual essence of the fruit and somehow translate it to the viewer.

Artist Nancy Bea Miller, contemporary artist and friend of MadSilence, is one artist who attempts to portray the essence of this mysterious fruit in her painting entitled, Pear and Knife.

Pear and Knife by Nancy Bea Miller. 11″x14″ oil on canvas ©2008.

Miller currently has an exhibition at the Sherry French Gallery in NYC. The exhibition ” ‘Still Moments’ Representational Still Life and Landscape Paintings” runs from May 28th – June 21st, 2008.

Pomology: Fruit cultivation; the study or practice of cultivating fruit.


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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kirsten
    Jun 10, 2008 @ 23:21:44

    While I love fresh pears (they were a favourite when I lived in Oregon) they’re hard to come by in my part of Oklahoma — just don’t seem to do well. Peaches, on the other hand, do incredibly well and I’m impatiently waiting for the first varieties to ripen. Nothing like local fruit, no matter what it is!


  2. jafabrit
    Jun 12, 2008 @ 20:33:05

    What a lovely painting!


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