In ordinary speech fruit is what you can eat for dessert. For Botanists, it is part of the plant that protects and eventually releases the seeds, enabling the continuation of the species. For botanists, therefore, a pumpkin is a fruit, and so are tomatoes, and peppers, while carrots and potatoes are roots. For green-grocers instead, and their shoppers, tomatoes are mere vegetables, on a par with potatoes and cauliflowers. Apples on the other hand and pears, bananas, strawberries, and gooseberries are fruits for both botanists and the common folks Within and without the domain of science, fruits have been a much frequented referent in the portrayal of the most essential needs, desires, and aspirations human beings have experienced since time immemorial. Indeed, ever since they began to write poetry or to make any kind of symbolic gesture, depiction, and celebration of fruit have been central to those processes. Sensuous and colorful images of fruit reverberate in the discourse of politics, physics, ethics, religion, jurisprudence, and other secular rites.

Above all fruit language and fruit related imagery have been a most successful vehicle to speak about sex and all the pleasures and terrors that go with it. Few have said it with more conviction than D.H. Lawrence: For fruits are all of them female, in them lies the seed. And so when they break and show the seed, then we look into the womb and see its secrets. So it is that the pomegranate is the apple of love to the Arab, and the fig has been a catchword for the female fissure for ages. The apple of Eden, even, was Eve’s fruit. To her it belonged, and she offered it to the man…”The exhibits and the documents included in TUTTI FRUTTI cover a rather large territory, but not the entire planet. Their journey has unfolded primarily along the traditional routes, through Europe, North, Central, and South America and those North African and Near Eastern Civilizations that, a various points in time, and with varying degrees of intensity, have either participated in the creation of the so called Western World or have actively interacted with it.

A massive and articulate reference work offering a spectacular visual history of the allegorical values of fruit, as well as an exhaustive canon of their meaning, TUTTI FRUTTI draws in contents from painting, sculpture, architecture, cinema, television, photography, music, cartoons, crafts, industrial design, advertising, and gastronomy. Visual and written texts (and musical scores) are juxtaposed to develop unobtrusively but recognizable clusters of culturally compatible works, often casting an “irreverent” light on the meaning of each individual component. The volume is concluded by a glossary, and a gastronomic appendix with dozens of exceptional recipes.