Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Food Related Painting of the Week

La succession des plats
15th century

La succession des plats
(from the Bibliothèque National de France)

This is a page (February) of the calendar in Grandes Heures d'Anne de Bretagne. It's a simple scene of a noble dining, apparently alone.

There's a bunch of good stuff here to look at. The pie in front of the diner is the most prominent (to me) - it has a sharply defined, regular shape that is characteristic of medieval pies, complete with the hole at the top which was probably where the cook poured in melted butter or vinegar.

The diner is holding a bowl of something red. It could be wine (I don't see a cup on the table) or some kind of soup. Given the absence of a spoon, I can only assume he'll drink directly from the bowl.

There's a knife on the table next to the half eaten loaf of bread. According to John Russell's Book of Nurture, bread should never be torn or bitten off, but should always be cut into bite-sized pieces with a the knife. Comparing the size of the bread to the size of the diner's hand, I'd guess it's about a quarter-pound loaf (assuming things are represented vaguely to scale). On a side note, I like how the rivets in the knife's handle are clearly visible.

One leg of the table is visible, peeking out from the table cloth. It appears to be part of a typical medieval sawhorse table.

On the whole, it's a nice clear dining scene. If I can get around to getting a table like this, I'll have to try setting this up to see what it's like.

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