Oranges between energy and health, purity and eroticisim

Imagine you were able to create a magic potion with extraordinary health-restoring properties. It would have to scavenge free radicals, protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer, lower cholesterol levels, reduce obesity and stress, increase one’s energy, have a detoxifying effect, aid in digestione and—why not—bring down one’s temperature. Now, such a potion actually exists: all you need is to squeeze an orange, the most popular and most frequently eaten citrus fruit, a source of energy, vitalità and health. These properties were known even to Garibaldi, who is often depicted as eating oranges or giving them to sick soldiers. Popular traditions, religious iconography, myths and art all ascribe a peculiar meaning to oranges, even though they often clash. Let us learn some more about them.

A symbol of innocence...

There was a tale about a young virgin who was going to be married soon and had no jewels wtih which to adorn herself. So she adorned her head with a fragrant white flower miraculously blooming in her garden: an orange blossom, traditionally associated to brides as a symbol of virginity and purity. Oranges and orange flowers are present in one of the best-known paintings around the world, Botticelli’s Primavera, originally commissioned by Giuliano de’Medici and later completed for his cousin Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco to celebrate his marriage to Seramide Appiani. According to the Ancients Gaia, the earth, gave Hera and Zeus a luxuriant garden as a wedding gift. In this garden was a tree whose golden fruits were meant for the Gods only. However, Heracles succeeded in three of them and presented them to mankind so that nowadays we mere mortals can relish tasty oranges. One shifted into Christian iconography, oranges and their snow-white flowers often came to stand for the Virgin Mary. This can be found, for example, in Madonna col Bambino by Cosmè Tura, Madonna dell’arancio tra i santi Ludovico da Tolosa e Girolamo by Cima da Conegliano, and Commiato di Cristo alla Madre by Lorenzo Lotto. and lively

Henri Matisse was one of the many painters apparently obsessed by oranges. These fruits abound in his paintings; their bright colour was a perfect symbol for the Fauvist movement and their joie de vivre as expressed by vivid colours.
On the same subject, Nature morte aux pommes et aux oranges by Paul Cézanne forces itself on our attention through a sharp contrast between the bright orange hue of the fruits on the one hand and the gleaming, snow-white tablecloth and flatware on the other.

The warm hues of oranges and their round shape make them look sultry, suggesting love and femininity. In Naranjas y limones by the Spanish painter Julio Romero de Torres oranges seem to replicano the woman’s bare breasts, adding to the sensuous appeal of the painting.

Photos by Wikipedia

Now, moving to more recent times and taking a look to the advertising industry in particular, once again we find a compelling, sedutctive association between oranges and women in the Arancia Rosaria spots:

as well as in a 2016 Sanpellegrino spot, set to the tune of Nina Zilli’s song “L’amore verrà”, where a cheerful, smiling girl captures the inebriating beauty of Italian landscapes—regarded as the very essence of that celebrated beverages—into a small bottle.

the fruit is the main ingredient of Campari Orange Passion, a cocktail advertised in an evocative spot in 2010.

In a fairytale atmosphere recalling “Sleeping Beauty” the two main characters smuggle the drink from a place where time seems to have stood still—and everybody has turned into stone—to an animated, lively party. Once again, as the ine case of Matisse, oranges represent the joie de vivre.

Alicante di Jacques Prévert

Concludo lasciandovi gustare la sensualità dei versi di Jacques Prévert in Alicante. Perché se una spremuta è la pozione per restare in salute, un’arancia può essere l’elemento magico che accresce l’erotismo di una poesia.

An orange upon the table
Your dress on the rug
And you in my bed
Sweet present of the present
Freshness of the night
Warmth of my life

By Valeria Galbiati