What does this apple mean? (Project 3: Exercise 1)

I suspect that for most British people of my age, the first meaning assigned to an apple is the christian one of temptation and sin. This is beautifully illustrated by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel; please refer to figure 1 below.

Fig. 1, Michelangelo “The Downfall of Adam and eve and their expulsion from The Garden of Eden” (1509)

This is not, however, the only christian symbolism assigned to the apple. In figure 2 below, the infant Christ holds an apple as a symbol that he will not be tempted by sin; a sign that Jesus has come to conquer evil.

Fig. 2. Cranach the Elder, L. “The Virgin and Child under an Apple Tree” (1530s)


This apple ambiguity can be seen in other forms of symbolism. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, but when snow white succumbed to the offer of an apple she fell into a long sleep.

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