Long before the explosion of food art, food in art has always been represented in many different ways. Many artists have gifted us with a series of banquet and still-life masterpieces, which have showed us how through centuries we liked to eat, and which food we preferred.
Us at Ghiott, we find the biscuits in art to be the most interesting ones!
So we welcome our little column on ‘Biscuit in art’, which looks to investigate how from Flemish to Pop Art, from paintings to cinema, visual arts have always assisted us with something sweet in our daily lives.
Today we’ll cover:
– Beert Osias, Flemish specialist in still life
– Christian Berentz, German painter in Rome
– Cristoforo Munari, re-discovered Italian painter
– Luigi Monteverde, Swiss painter known as the ‘Raphael of Grape’
Biscuit still-life masterpieces that you can taste with your own eyes…
Right, we start with him, Picasso, who painted this piece in the Summer of 1924, in the South of France. It’s definitely his style, but the composition of this still life with biscuits takes from a long Flemish tradition of 1600s painters. Can you guess where the biscuits are?
Collezione privata. © Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York
Aesthetic and culinary yumminess with this Flemish painter who specialises in still life, Beert Osias. Here, biscuits leave space to the lobster, as well as to a small plate of little sweets of different forms, accompanied by some jordan almonds, which symbolise a wedding feast. However, in the bottom right corner, there are two biscuits. Actually, one of them has been snacked on! We can recognise them because of their long shape and light colour, and we can say they really remind us of those biscuits stacked in Picasso’s picture…
Bruxelles, Museo Reale di Belle Arti del Belgio
And here they are, Picasso’s biscuits, long in shape and stacked on a silver tray, which highlights their delicacy. Between the 17th and the 18th Century, biscuits were indeed a delicacy only for sophisticated palates. The refined crystal glasses and bottles show us the dessert wine or liquors that were used to accompany such biscuits. A bit like the Vinsanto you can use to taste our Ghiottini.
Roma, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica
Cristoforo Munari specialises in still life, the perfect genre for the noble courts from Rome to Florence, where he was active between the 600s and 700s. The artist has such an attention to detail that we can almost smell his paintings. In this instance, the biscuits are on a tray next to a juicy watermelon. Please note the detail of the biscuit dipped into the liquor, in a very fine glass.
Roma, Camera dei Deputati
This Swiss painter worked on this masterpiece in 1884. Monteverde, another specialist in still life, was named by his peers the ‘Raphael of Grapes’, as he had a special way of capturing light and details, especially in the representations of wonderful bunches of grapes. But also with biscuits and sweets he wasn’t too bad…
Collezione privata. © Dobiaschofsky Auktionen, Berna
Thanks to Silvia Malaguzzi for all the valuable information provided.