This month, I visited the V&A Museum in London, the world’s leading museum of art and design (and also my favourite museum ). Whilst wandering around the museum’s halls, I came across a sculpture that I really liked named ‘Vertumnus and Pomona’. I took some photos of it and decided to research the story behind it when I got back home. It turns out that this sculpture represents:
‘The Tale of Pomona and Vertumnus’:
Pomona, the beautiful Wood Nymph cared nothing for the woods, but cared only for her fruit-filled gardens and orchards. Pomona fenced her garden so that the rude, young men who were attracted to her good looks, could not trample her plants and vines. It seemed that although many of the gods of Rome tried to pursue her and win her love, Pomona would simply remain devoted to her garden. Vertumnus, the young, handsome God of changing seasons and patron of fruits, would not give up easily and was determined to win over Pomona. Over time, he came to her in various disguises including a harvester, a vineyard keeper, a fisherman, a solider, and more. However, even with the disguises, Pomona still never paid him the slightest bit of attention.
One day Vertumnus tried a disguise as an old lady and he pretended to be interested in her fruit. Pomona naively allowed him to enter the garden while she listened to him talk about the virtues of marriage and the dangers of rejecting love. Vertumnus could see that despite his efforts, Pomona still seemed wary of the aged lady in front of her and he realised that he was not successful in wooing the beautiful maiden.
Eventually, Vertumnus decided to be brave and reveal himself to Pomona. When Pomona saw his real face, she felt as though the sun was bursting through the clouds when and she instantly fell in love with his bravery and with him being so handsome. They lived happily together in her garden, cultivating fruit trees together for the rest of their lives.
Being the huge geek that I am and also being fascinated by both Greek and Roman Myths, I wanted to share with you the famous love story of Vertumnus and Pomona that is described in Ovid’s famous poem called the Metamorphoses. Let me know if you like Mythology or if you have a favourite sculptor.