Art, Food, Science

Painting The Watermelon Red

A painting of fruits and flowers, by Giovanni Stanchi.
A painting of fruits and flowers, by Giovanni Stanchi.

This mid-17th century still-life by Giovanni Stanchi depicts a cornucopia of fruits and flowers, blossoming in a landscape. Among them are chrysanthemums, tulips, irises, peaches, pears, and watermelons.

A painting, just like a book, is a time capsule, of sorts, and offers a glimpse into the past. Observe how different the melon looked during the Renaissance. It was smaller; the flesh inside, paler.

Over time, as we’ve bred the watermelon, packing its interior—which is the fruit’s seed-filled placenta—with lycopene, it has turned bright red, the color we know it to be today.

h/t: VOX

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