Still Life with Lemons, Oranges and a Rose

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Francisco de Zubarán, Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Rose, 1633 

Though undoubtedly there's enough symbolism to go around twice for this painting, that's not the emphasis of this. For me, the Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Rose by Zurbarán isn't just a beautifully simplistic painting—it's a childhood memory.

The Still Life with Lemons, Oranges, and a Rose has been in my memory since five. After all, it was printed on my piano book that I practiced with. Through frustrated tears, happy tears, and a vast pool of emotions, I stared hatefully or lovingly at the book. In times of frustration I stared stupidly at the painting, memorizing every crevice and detail, from the tiny wilting part of the pink rose to the shadow on the lemon that seemed to overextend. I had engraved the unknown painting in my memory.

Piano is half of me, and yet I hated it with a passion when I was younger. I hated the book cover, I abhorred the person who painted it, the stupid half-hidden pink rose, and the pure perfection of it. It sat on my piano, mocked me when I struck wrong notes, comforted me when I saw it peeking out of my bag in piano competitions. This book was like a friend that purposefully annoyed me, but I couldn't just toss it aside. It was too precious, in an unspeakable way.

Imagine my influx of emotions when I saw it on the screen in the Art History room. My eyes were wide, and I grinned like an overeager tourist. I had found the painting that's preceded any memory of art. (If you didn't know, I was completely blind-sided by the staggering amount of artists besides Da Vinci and Picasso.)

So, to my old piano book, falling apart at the plastic binding, with torn pages, food stains, and the plastic laminate peeling, hello old friend. I have finally found the painting that graces your old cover.

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