Food in Art
From Prehistory to the Renaissance
Distributed for Reaktion Books
Exploring a myriad of images including hunting scenes depicted in Egyptian Books of Hours and fruit in Roman wall paintings and mosaics, Riley argues that works of art present us with historical information about the preparation and preservation of food that written sources do not—for example, how meat, fish, cheese, and vegetables were dried, salted, and smoked, or how honey was used to conserve fruit. She also examines what these works reveal to us about how animals and plants were raised, cultivated, hunted, harvested, and traded throughout history. Looking at the many connections between food, myth, and religion, she surveys an array of artworks to answer questions such as whether the Golden Apples of the Hesperides were in fact apples or instead quinces or oranges. She also tries to understand whether our perception of fruit in Christian art is skewed by their symbolic meaning.
With 170 color images of fine art, illuminated manuscripts, mosaics, frescoes, stained glass, and funerary monuments, Food in Art is an aesthetically pleasing and highly readable book for art buffs and foodies alike.
1. Glimpses of Food in the Paleolithic World
2. Eating in the Ancient Middle East: Mesopotamia
3. The Pleasures of Food in Ancient Greece
4. In Ancient Greece and Rome
5. Bright Feasts in the Dark Ages
6. The Middle Ages
7. Realism and Symbolism in the Renaissance Kitchen
8. Late Renaissance Modernity