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When I was in Florence, the Italian tour guides told us they were oranges, a device of the Medici family. Just saying ;)


This short essay called "Mythology and Ideology in Italian Renaissance Art" is quite relevant. The key idea is that in the prosperous city-states of Italy, "Neoplatonist ideas were translated into allegorical and symbolic images: images drawn from pre-Christian mythology, and interpreted as symbols for concepts acceptable to Renaissance Christians." ...

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