Frutta al MarzapaneTuesday, July 28, 2009
This shop, on the Piazza di San Giovanni in Florence, about seventy yards from the Baptistry where the Medicis christened their children (children who would grow up to be patrons of many of the greatest artists the world has yet produced), specializes in some of the most elegant faux fruit I've ever seen.
Each marzipan fig, whether green or fully ripe, or somewhere in between, is perfect -- not perfect as in "identical," but perfect as complete individuals. As individual as Lorenzo the Magnificent, or Machiavelli, or Dante, or Raphael, or Galileo -- or indeed as any of the hundreds of amazing individuals that Florence has produced. Each prickly pear, every plum and banana -- even the chocolate salamis on the bottom shelf -- proclaim their unique identity, all the while smirking inwardly over the inherent, yet utterly glorious, falseness of their existence...
...and, at the same time, absolutely convinced that the ruse is worth the extravagant -- for Italy -- price. It is, after all, art -- and no small part of the art is that it is artifice, it is only almond paste and sugar.