Food has always played an important role in the existence of humanity. It’s one of the vital things needed for survival on the most basic evolutionary level. Even in a social and cultural sense, food has always been important and it is why food is depicted in a countless amount of art pieces isn’t shocking n the least. It’s been a common occurrence throughout the history of humanity, even spanning as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans who celebrated their feats with paintings that displayed the dazzling food that was feasted upon as well as descriptions and mosaics.
However, this wasn’t exclusive as food drawing and references were found in Egyptian pyramids – mainly in a religious effort to feed the ones who perished with the delicacies of the living world. Even in writing, food held a certain meaning as certain fruits and meals were tied to sins and values, mainly wealth, lust, and exoticism. Nowadays, food is related to certain aspects of life, such as politics, class, religion, culture, and even gender.
Food and the Western World
This all started in the middle of the 15 centuries. More artists were taking inspiration from the natural world rather than precalculated scenes. Thus, creating an ear where still life creations were growing in popularity. Out of all of the natural scenes on the earth, such as the rivers, mountain ranges, and outdoors – the main natural inspiration that artists took to was food. This was caused by a variety of reasons such as our connection with food, the various viewpoints where the painting could be centred on, as well as observe the unique textures, shapes, and colours that food came from.
Looking back onto art from this period, you will most likely come across an assortment of fruits and veggies, or a painting of a feast filled with pleasurable foods. Along with showing homage to one of the key tools needed for survival, these pieces of work were able to display values that we are all used too. One common example that can have a darker viewpoint is imaging a painting of an apple slowly rotting, which could be likened to the life cycle of a human being. The symbolism taken from the combination of food and art can even be seen in literature – no matter of its classic or modern.
Food and Real Life
After the ear of slowly adding food into artwork, artists began adding food in works that depicted real life in the 19th century. It was becoming a common trend to depicted having the people in the artwork socialising while being surrounded by food or, another artistic approach that was a bit more straightforward would depict farmers and families eating together. One famous example of this is by Vincent Van Gogh. His painting, The Potato Eaters, displays exactly just that – but of course with his unique artistic style. Another example comes from Cezanne, who ideas about still life created inspiration for common day art. He focused on combing still life with fruits and veggies being the centrepieces that were subtly hidden.