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A few of the many meanings behind the symbol: apple.
Dionysys was the creator of the apple, which he presented to Aphrodite, goddess of love.

 

 

 

What is a symbol? It's a visible sign or representation of an idea.
Eventually this is going to be an extensive surreal symbolism reference. Right now, I'm taking it one word at a time and building it slowly :) Symbols are hard to define and I'm NOT trying to supply a definitive answer, but rather introduce you to a way of thinking. These definitions are here to help you find meanings within the artwork that strikes a chord for you. A GOOD piece of art has many layers/meanings to many different people and a solid ring that echoes TRUTH to all. I hope you find this information useful in your search.


Three layers to symbols
When dealing with symbols one needs to keep in mind that there are at least three basic layers to each symbol. These layers are (1) human, (2) cultural and (3) personal.

Throughout human history a certain connotation becomes built up around a symbol. This meaning is associated directly with nature and primitive feelings. For example, take the apple. A simple symbol. Strip away everything else and you are left with food grown from a seed. The apple is often associated with fruitfulness (of nature or even a woman's womb). The apple is also linked with harvest and fall (the time the fruit is collected). The human layer to a symbol crosses the boundaries of culture, which is why it is associated with primitive human emotions.

The second layer is dependent upon the culture being studied. Obviously a Western interpretation would differ from an Eastern and etc. Culture also includes a time reference. Let's take the apple once again. For a Western medieval Christian reference (that's three layers within this "cultural" ONE), the apple is a symbol of man's fall from grace. Now to show the cultural time difference, look at the apple in the modern computerized technological world. The marketing blitz that established MacIntosh computers also firmly linked the image of an apple to the product in the minds of modern day consumers.

The third layer to symbols is the personal reaction. Your reaction to the apple itself can be very personal (and can be absolutely mixed in with the cultural layer). One who is allergic to apples would have spent their whole life avoiding the fruit and this would color their interpretation. To this person, the apple symbolizes illness at the minimum, death at the extreme. This is (of course) an oversimplification of a personal reaction but I think you get the point <g>.

Obviously one cannot control all reactions to a symbol when trying to put together a work of art. One can however, be aware of this, and use this knowledge to make the piece more effective. Knowledge of the layers of meaning can be used for many different effects (similar to layering different colors of paint). They are all tools in the hands of the artist :)
Chris Eisenbraun; Feb. 5, 2001
revised: Aug. 24, 2003.

The apple also stands for food and sustenance. North American artist online art studio.

 Online fine art studio -- Artist website -- Established: July 04, 2000.

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