Savour through Art

Savour through Art

An attractive plate laden with some of the best tastes and sophisticated dishes, can open up many doors to unspoken secrets that can guide a man through episodes of art, history and culture. It’s an exciting journey to encounter how gastronomy meets these key segments that speak of revolution. 

While ‘art’ stands as a wide topic in itself and often a subject that cannot be described, it’s exhilarating how the human creative skills and imaginations take a visual form, especially how the term has been used in culinary and gastronomic worlds for centuries.  Through narrative and still life, and from Pop Art culture to renowned paintings, food roots an image in time and place. It helps convey status, for instance, how certain dishes and ingredients connect to royalty, while others relay the plight of the populace.

The ‘Potato Eaters’(1885) by Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh turned out to be his first major work which highlighted the hard and tough life of peasants and farmers sharing a cold meal of potatoes by the faint light of a lamp. Milanese painter, Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s ‘Vegetables in a Bowl’ (1590) has a unique portrait of a human face, recreated in edible items like fruits and vegetables with a touch of Baroque style. it’s necessary to look at his work from every possible angle. So, what makes this whimsical painting extraordinary? It is how the human element and essence disappears and becomes invisible when flipped upside down.

The world of cuisines can always be seen drawing inspirations from ancient civilizations - be it culinary skills from the Arabs or spices from the Indians, it has all helped in generating rich gastronomic diversity. The 17th-century saw good growth in essays that featured both "art" and "cookery" in their titles, almost regarding culinary skills as an art form. Since centuries, numerous chefs have added great momentum, bringing a high level of perfectionism, majesty, and luxury, as well as useful methods. One of the greatest artists of the 20th century, Piet Mondrian is known for leading the foundation of abstract paintings. His famous artwork during the 1930s, was a composition of hues of red, blue and yellow within different geometrical figures, which  have contributed to the beauty of visual language in a large way. Piet Mondrian Cake is a carefully assembled composition of white velvet cake and chocolate ganache, that recreates the artist's most iconic work.

The love for food and extraordinary culinary skills can be seen dwelling in the world of museums as well. In the 1860s, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London opened three of its Refreshment Rooms: the world's first museum restaurant. Since then, food and cookery have been featured in museums dedicated to key figures and dishes in the history of kitchenette. One of them is the Museum of Culinary Art, at the childhood home of Auguste Escoffier — founder of haute cuisine, and the father of modern cookery.

The ever-growing number of artistic spaces with high-quality culinary offerings has been hard to ignore.  The sphere of gastronomy is not just limited to skilful cooking and kitchens. Food has always stood out as an unlimited source of inspiration for art, a hint of history and an exploring zone of culture in all its aspects.  It is a delight to look and savour upon these installations of taste that capture the zeitgeist of the time and cultural shifts. 

Story by: Tejashee Kashyap - Intern at L'officiel India

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja

Chitman Kanwar Ahuja is a feature writer at L'Officiel India. She is a silver jewellery hoarder and an aesthete of all arts. You can find her unraveling new stories day in and day out.