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This article is taken from PN Review 26, Volume 8 Number 6, July - August 1982.

Louise Moillon's Apricots (1635) Christopher Middleton

SHE has allowed the absolute standpoint of a twenty-year-old woman to be consumed by a heap of apricots in a long basket. The apricots in their basket are on a table, the front edge of which is paler than its remoter edge; and here on the front edge there are drops of water, five of them, at one of which a fly is sipping. The spectacularly detailed little fly is wearing wings of a delicately veined fabric.

The other drops of water, various in size, are in that perfect condition which precedes eruption or evaporation. They, in their way, though transparent, are as radiantly corporeal as the apricots.

To the left of the group of four drops of water there is an apricot that has been sliced open; the kernel is still attached to its hollow in the one half. To the right of the fly's drop, there are two more apricots, whole, and across them a leafed twig is placed, while attached to the flyward end of the twig are two dark purple shining fruits, probably plums.

Every visible apricot has a bloom, but only on a few is this bloom so noticeable as to be almost an aura. The basket which contains the apricots is made of dark, aged reeds. The apricots stand, or rather they configure, against a background which is black, opaque, impenetrable. Is it really a heap of apricots? Their golden and rotund volumes are casually consorted; it ...

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