I’ve said this before…if all else fails, paint food. It really works. Whether it is the sensuality of food, or the colours or the health aspect or hunger or satisfaction or all of it together…painting food is a delight. It has been so for ages as you will see further down below. I had some poivrons cornes de boeuf and some pak choy. Both greens which is good practice in the greens once again.
…Sketches done in moleskine with rotring pen and watercolour….
When Katherine visited in October, she and her sister and niece came over for dinner on their last night in France. (See both her sites at Travels with a sketchbook and Making a mark – where she has some interesting facts in her latest post on Technorati.)
Apart from the bottle of champagne they brought which we décapitée (beheaded) Napolean style, they brought me this beautiful book too – Boire et Manger, which they bought at Chateau Chenonceau. I have read it from front to back and back to front again. I love symbols and mythology and traditions and of course everything that has to do with food and art and this little book has it all.
It is all about the traditions and symbols showing up in old works of art, throughout the ages; how artists chose to paint certain food and scenes, involving food for their symbolism, to depict the traditions and cultures and habits – in short, life during their time.
I want to share some of it with you. Different examples can be seen at Myfrenchkitchen.
…BOIRE ET MANGER…
.. bacchus adolescente:Le caravage(1596-1597)…
…la chanteuse des rues; édouard manet (1862)…
Cherries – meaning: Passion of Christ, fruit of paradise
- One of the first portraits of Victorine Meurent, who was one of Manet’s favourite models until 1875.
- The cherry was a symbol of love, becasue of its deep red colour and round voluptiousness that reminded of the curves of the feminine body.
- All the sensuality in this scenes evolves around the woman bringing the sweet cherries to her mouth.
…la céne: Jacopo Bassano ( 1546-1548)…
Lamb – meaning: sacrificial victim.
- The lamb signifies the sacrifice of Christ.
- A fruit, resembling the apple, signifies the original sin.
- Next to Judas lies the knife, symbol of the treason which would follow.
- With his left hand, Jesus Christ himself points to the lamb which is a symbol of his own sacrifice.
…le jambon: édouard manet (1875-1878)…
Meat ; conserved/dried: ham taken from the porc, signifies gluttony sin.
- French dried ham had a strong international culinary meaning for Manet, because of its ancient gallic imports and long French tradions.
- In the 19th century the ham became a commercial product and thus also made its appearance in the city bourgeoise home after being traditionally country fare.
- In the rich Parisien home the ham would be served on nothing less than silver plattters, giving the ham a “worthiness”.
…scéne de cuisine: Frans Snyders (1630-1640)…
Porc and wild boar: sin of the flesh.
- Frans Snyders was a student of Rubens and specialized in refined commissios, usually overladen scenes of buffet tables with exquisite food.
- The head of the boar was very sought after and seen in this “hunting” painting could be evidence of a commission by some articrat.
- The lobster was already at that stage seen as one for the more rare sea foods, giving it an importance on the refined table.
- The little detail of the dog only sniffing the game, hints on aspects of respect.
- The presence of the artichokes is an indication of the choice of the painter to include only exquisite foods.