Consider the PeachCutting through the mythology of a flirtatious fruit.

Consider the PeachCutting through the mythology of a flirtatious fruit.

Issue 31

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Arts & Culture

In Caravaggio’s Boy with a Basket of Fruit (c.1593), peaches evoke sensual possibility: The hot rose blush of the fruits’ skin is mirrored in the boy’s flushed cheeks. Peaches as a synonym for blossoming lust are also seen in Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait (c.1434), where the impending reality of the newlyweds’ bedchamber is suggested by peaches hidden in the corner of the painting. As in 15th-century art history, so in 21st-century popular imagery: From the sticky way peach juice can slip down a chin to the peach-shaped emoji, it is a fruit that continues to capture our erotic imaginations.

Why does the prunus persicv entice us more than other fruit? Along with its strokeable soft pelt, it helps that the biological structure of the peach aligns itself so closely with the c...

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