Since we humans need to eat and some artists are keen to reflect the commercial, practical and psychological role of food in our societies and relationships, a number of iconic food paintings have been produced over the years by masters from various traditions.
So we thought it would be fun to gather together our three favourite famous food paintings, find out a little about their backstories and work out the best ways to ‘eat the art’ and prepare a tasty dish in their honour – let’s tuck in!
If you like cars, kissing and spaghetti, this painting by pop artist James Rosenquist will be right up your street, because it’s a trifecta with three separate scenes featuring these elements stacked one above the other. Some critics propose that it’s a comment on mass food production and consumerism, but all we know it that it makes us feel excited, romantic and hungry! The original is now displayed in the Moderna Museet, Stockholm.
Eat the art: heat some spaghetti from canned food gurus Heinz on the hob, pour it in a bowl, sit in your car with your significant other and give them a saucy kiss.
- Peasant Wedding Feast by Pieter Bruegel (1556)
This classic painting by Flemish master Peter Bruegel painting is now housed in the Kunst Historisches Museum in Vienna, and it depicts a lively wedding scene with wine, porridge and soup being served and consumed. This is Bruegel’s most famous painting but little is known about who commissioned it or whether it has any hidden meaning, although it’s speculated that the bride’s two piece crown indicates she’s already pregnant and the groom also seems to be missing, further fuelling the theory that there’s more than meets the eye here.
Eat the art: recreate Bruegel’s Peasant Wedding Feast by gathering together your friends and family, treating yourselves to a crate of tonic wine and wolfing down a large communal pot of porridge – the perfect party!
- La Risaioule by Angelo Morbelli (1897)
Rice production is perhaps more readily associated with India and China than Italy, but there have been paddy fields there for generations and Morbelli painted a beautiful series of pictures of them around the turn of the 20th Century. This particular painting sold for £173,000 at Sotheby’s in 2017 but is considered of national cultural significance and therefore isn’t allowed to leave Italian soil. The muted colours of the labouring ladies and the skilful strokes of their reflections in the water endow this everyday scene with an ethereal beauty.
Eat the art: pay homage to this scene by preparing a tasty recipe from risotto masters Riso Gallo – you can tuck in to an authentic Italian rice dish with as little as 20 minutes prep time!
We hope you enjoyed these three famous food paintings and have fun filling your bellies with dished prepared in their honour – bon appetite!
Have we missed your favourite food painting? Share your thoughts in the comments section