I love the art of cooking. The crack of an egg, the sizzle of a hot skillet, the scent of baking bread wafting from the oven. The thought of putting together a handful of ingredients and creating something delicious is a magical idea for me. Just as a chef uses flour and egg to make pasta, a painter uses paint and canvas to create art. A chef and an artist are both masters, masters who create items that feed the mind, the body, and the soul.
Silver Wine Jug, Ham, and Fruit, c. 1660-66. Abraham van Beyern (Dutch, 1620/21-1690). Oil on canvas; 99.7 x 82.6 cm. Mr. and Mrs. William H. Marlatt Fund.
The salty tang of a well-brined ham. The sweet scent of an unpeeled orange. The nectarous taste of a juicy summer peach. Dutch artist Abraham van Beyern depicts the food of a tasty meal in such mouth-watering detail that I, even looking at this right after eating lunch, am ready for another course. The silver wine jug, which makes me imagine just the thing to quench my thirst, also serves as a way for the artist to include a selfie. Look closely!
Still Life with Biscuits, 1924. Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973). Oil, sand, other materials on canvas; 80.8 x 100.4 cm. Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund. © Estate of Pablo Picasso/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
In his Still Life with Biscuits, Picasso may not depict the same sort of delectable-looking meal as van Beyern, but he still captures the simple joy of an afternoon spent indulging in good food with good company. His Cubist approach simplifies the palette and geometry of the scene, which furthers the simple pleasure of the domesticity of cooking. While I write this blog post, the painting makes me dream of simple, buttery cookies paired with the perfect cup of coffee.
The Dessert, 1921. Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867-1947). Oil on fabric; 76.2 x 80 cm. Gift of the Hanna Fund. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ ADAGP, Paris.
Dessert. The one word that makes every day a little bit brighter for me. From luscious peach pies to silky chocolate cakes to gooey chocolate-chip cookies, dessert is and always will be my favorite part of the day. The figures in Pierre Bonnard’s painting show exactly how I feel when that last bite of cake is gone.
Tori Laser is a junior at John Carroll University studying art history with a focus on communications. She is interning this summer in the Communications and Marketing Department at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
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