Monday, January 2, 2017

The art mystery in the menu: The meal in this painting is more than just lunch — but what?

By Noah Charney
Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, 1618 by Diego Velazquez. Courtesy of UK National Gallery
Today we’ll examine art that has food in it — specifically a painting by the greatest of Spanish Golden Age painters, Diego Velázquez, of food for which the edible components convey hidden messages. I was first introduced to how food can provide its own visual riddle in art in the case of a painting by Velázquez, “Christ in the House of Mary and Martha.” This work, painted in 1618, is really about the visual puzzle it presents, but this is packaged in the guise of a religious painting. Velázquez was not known for religious paintings, but was a specialist in bodegones, genre scenes of everyday life that convey some moral message. This is a combination of the two subjects. [link]