Feast Your Eyes on Food in Art; Exhibition: Bowes Museum

Article excerpt

ANEW exhibition opens at the Bowes Museum next month exploring fashions in food and drink throughout Europe. Feast Your Eyes is a celebration of the representation of food in art over the past five centuries.

Ranging from Arcimboldo's fantasies of the 16th century to still life photographs by Irving Penn in the 20th century, the exhibition, which opens at the museum in Barnard Castle on Saturday, October 6, explores themes including Still Life, Faith, From Market to Table, Fashionable Beverages, and Feast.

The exhibition looks at how food is used to convey a story, or as a message, as symbolism or decoration.

It considers the changing fashions in food and how these influenced artists' depictions of food in their work.

One of the earliest works in the show, lent by Southampton City Art Gallery, is a fantastical reference to summer by the 16th century artist, Guiseppe Arcimboldo - one of the artist's famous fruit and vegetable head-shaped compositions for which he is best known.

By contrast, the most recent works on display will be two photographs of still life by the American photographer, Irving Penn, on loan from the Tate.

In between is an eclectic mix of subjects and styles - from formal still life works revealing the abundance of food from orchard, field, farm and sea, to paintings which show the human relationship with food in all walks of life, from the nobleman dining in style to the humble widow surviving on a diet of broth.

Still Life will explore the differing approach artists have taken across the centuries to capture nature in all its forms.

Faith shows paintings where food takes on a symbolic presence.

From Market To Table will chart the progress of food from the fields to market and eventually to mealtime; the depiction of household interiors, animals and people giving a glimpse into the social conditions and customs of the time. …

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