Still life painting often features fruit and vegetables. They are readily available subjects for artists to show off their skill in composition, lighting and handling of paint, but also can have deeper meanings – Eve was tricked into giving Adam an apple from the Tree of Knowledge, for example. Heavily laden market stalls are a feature of early still life painting, illustrating the country’s agricultural and commercial wealth, or that of a country estate.
Different fruit and vegetables mark the different seasons, most often summer and autumn, for example in sets of paintings of the four seasons. They can be used as allegories of the shortness of life and as a warning against vanity, since they ripen and decay so quickly.