Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Food Related Painting of the Week

The Well-Stocked Kitchen
Joachim Beuckelaer, 1566

The Well-Stocked Kitchen
(from the Web Gallery of Art)

Apparently there have been a bunch of additions to the Web Gallery of Art since I last updated my Food Related Paintings pages - I'll have to spend some quality time web surfing next weekend. At any rate, this is a painting I hadn't seen before.

From the look of the little patch in the center background, I suspect this painting has some other title like "Paul Converts the Unbelievers in Samaria". I salute whatever genius thought up this scheme, as it allowed them to paint overtly secular images in great detail while maintaining that their work had a religious theme. Without this trick we probably would have very few works that documented the food of the time.

This one's a doozie, filled with a wide variety of foods and kitchen implements. On the far right is an earthenware tankard with a metal cover and a similarly covered pitcher (bottle?), next to what look like cantaloupes or melons of some kind. Just behind them on the table is an earthenware pot and a large brass mortar and pestle.

Near the center of the painting I note the artichokes and cauliflower, and cucumbers (which may have been absent from England for much of the medieval period). At the front right there's a plate of lemons and olives, both of which were probably imported from Spain or the Mideast.

See those white things at the center left? The things next to the bowl with the knife in it. I'm not really sure what they are. I'd think they were white carrots, but the leaves don't look right, and the shape isn't at all right for parsnips. Maybe they're skirrets (Sium sisarum), which is a sort of water-parsnip sometimes eaten in the middle ages. Or, maybe some kind of white beet (the leaves look right for that). Interesting.

1 comment:

Jules Frusher said...

That picture actually makes me feel quite hungry! More so than any of the other painting's you've put up for some reason.