The Artistic Feast
The sustenance provided by food and drink is a cornerstone of human existence. However, within the context of painting, food and drink depicted in art has always meant more than just a meal. Depictions of food, tableware and glassware and even table linens may convey societal observation about the owner’s prosperity; the happiness of their marital relationships; the quality of their parenting; as well as whether the patron had a simple fondness for cake.
In this lecture, Angus Haldane will illustrate paintings of food and drink from the ancient world through to the 20th century. From Vermeer’s depiction of milk and bread to Velasquez’s vision of fried eggs, Angus will explore still life paintings the messages portrayed through eating. He will examine the language of food and discuss the vernacular of feasting in art with its hidden imagery of cheese, oysters, wine, beer and gin. Whether it is Van Gogh’s depiction Potato Eaters in a humble cottage to Wayne Thiebaud’s almost edible depictions of sweet treats and milkshakes, we will discover who was eating what, with whom and for what reason. We will enter the kitchens of the poor, the dining rooms of the rich and interrogate the changing tastes of the centuries. Join him on this journey from the coffee house to the pub and follow the gradual movement from virtuous mid-morning snack to late evening delicacies, inebriation, and decadence.