[Sca-cooks] Period pear varieties?

Johnna Holloway johnnae at mac.com
Sun Nov 2 16:12:22 PST 2008

Here's some more information on pears as they appear in
the art of Caravaggio (1571-1610).

*Pear (/Pyrus communis/)*
Pears are found in six of Caravaggio's paintings. A great number of 
types are displayed including yellow, green, and red with size varying 
from small to very large. The small bright red ones in /Boy with a 
Basket of Fruit/ resemble Moscadella (Moscatelle) types described by 
Bimbi as well as the Micheli manuscript, and also resemble one of the 
pears in the Campi painting. The same pears are illustrated in paintings 
by Giovanna Garzoni (Fig. 9). There is evidence of leaf roller damage on 
one yellow pear. The soft-fleshed European pear (/Pyrus communis/), 
native in Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor, has been considered part 
of the cultural heritage of Europe. The pear has been consumed since 
prehistoric times and dried slices have been unearthed in Swiss cave 
dwellings of the Ice Age. The first literary mention of the pear is 
found in Homer's epic poem /The Odyssey/ and is included as one of the 
"gifts of the gods" which grew in the legendary gardens of Alcinöus. 
They are mentioned by Theophrastus and the Roman agricultural writers; 
Pliny the Elder writes extensively of pear, mentioning many types. The 
pear is found in a number of religious paintings of the Renaissance; the 
most famous is Giovanni Bellini's /Madonna of the Pear/. Pears still 
find a large place in Italian horticulture although the most popular 
pear grown in Italy is now a French cultivar called 'Abbé Fétel'.


Hope this helps


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