After conquering Granada, Queen Isabella is reported to have stood with a pomegranate in her hand and declared, “Just like the pomegranate, I will take over Andalusia seed by seed.”
Image: Spanish commemorative glass flask initialed, painted with a crown and pomegranate, and marked with the date “1492,” and the words “Granada” and “America,” ca. 1592.
Eleonora di Toledo, wife of the Duke of Florence and the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, was depicted in paintings wearing a dress with a pomegranate design. It symbolized her role as a mother.
Image: Portrait of Eleonora di Toledo with her son Giovanni, Agnolo Bronzino, ca. 1544. Credit: Alinari / Art Resource, NY
King Henry IV of France used the pomegranate for his heraldic badge, accompanied by the motto "sour, yet sweet." He compared the nature of the fruit with his belief that a king should temper severity with mildness.
Image: Tureen and stand by German François-Thomas at Chateaux de Versailles et de Trianon, 1755. Photo Credit: Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, NY
Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist called “The Father of Taxonomy,” gave the pomegranate its botanical name, Punica granatum.
Image: Punicae (Pomegranate) from “Plantae selectae” by Christoph Jacob Trew, Georg Dionysus Ehret, Nuremburg, Germany, ca. 1750–73, pl. LXXII. Credit: The LuEsther T. Mertz Library, NYBG / Art Resource, NY
Pomegranates were part of modern artistic movements such as Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism and Surrealism. Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí all depicted pomegranates in their work.
Image: Pomegranates, Majorca, John Singer Sargent, 1908. Credit: The Bridgeman Art Library, Getty Images.