Starting with the emblematic still-life paintings of the Renaissance, artists have found ways to make food look mouthwatering on canvas. Reproductions of some of those old-school works are still found in fashionable restaurants, acting as visual cues to tease taste buds and get your tummy growling.
After the jump, check out a handful of food paintings throughout the ages.
1499 The Last Supper by Leonardo daVinci
They said it would be sinful not to include this one, which is an untouchable historical/symbolic heavyweight, apparently. Who knew? Today, it only illustrates just how small the portions were back then.
1568 The Peasant Wedding by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
This big-ass Dutch feast remains one of Papa Bruegel's best-known works. See the pitchers of Heineken? Some believe the kid licking the plate of porridge went on to play Cousin Oliver on The Brady Bunch. That's sheer nonsense.
1649 Venison and Basket of Grapes Watched by a Cat by Jan Fyt
Considered perhaps the greatest of all the Flemish painters who loved food and animals, Fyt did several works that included a cat guarding a hunter's catch. Check out this one, who has a paw extended -- just in case.
1663 Still Life With Orange, Lemon and a Bottle of Wine by Willem Kalf
German painter Kalf loved creating still-life depictions of food, and this peeled-fruit classic, one of his best, went on to inspire a lot of copycats as well as a good bit of riffing on the title.
1781 Still life With Lobster by Anne Vallayer-Coster
Something visceral and real and festive about this painting appeals to the stomach. Folks ate damned good back then! Lobster ready for crackin', teeth tearing apart crusty rolls, dead ducks sittin' there, bottles of wine, and the pink, fatty meat all spell huge vittle session about go down.
1880 Still Life With Peaches by Henri Fantin-Latour
Before he did posthumous album covers
for English post-punk bands, Henri Fantin-Latour was well-known in France for his flowers and fruit. This soft fruity still life is among his finest.
1888 Still Life With Mackerels, Lemons and Tomatoes by Vincent Van Gogh
Not Van Gogh's most recognizable work, this troika of estimable comestibles was painted in France and belongs to a private collector. Stark and simple, it makes quite an impression even after all these years.
1893 Still Life With Drapery, Pitcher and Fruit Bowl by Paul Cezanne
Cezanne's food art pushed past impressionism and realism; this still life demonstrates a flirtation with cubism. The fruit in the dish becomes a geometric checkerboard of sorts.
1968 Campbell's Soup by Andy Warhol
Iconic with a capital I
while depicting not food but the vessel that carries it, Warhol's cans of Campbell's reign as his most enduring image. These are actual cans of soup you can buy
1995 A1 Sauce by Ralph Goings
This photorealistic wonder shows a table setting in a nameless diner, late afternoon. Goings, born in 1928, one of the movement's prodigal sons, has a thing for ketchup bottles, napkin holders, and salt shakers.
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