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Tastes and Temptations

Food and Art in Renaissance Italy

John Varriano (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 280 pages
ISBN: 9780520269941
March 2011
$29.95, £24.00
Fruits and vegetables as erotic metaphors in still life paintings, the Florentine Baptistry replicated in sausage and cheese by Andrea del Sarto, a recipe for fish molded in the shape of a goat, the discovery of an Ovidian scene at the bottom of a soup bowl. A feast for the mind and eye, this beautifully illustrated, compellingly readable book is a rich exploration of the little examined interplay between art and cuisine during the Italian Renaissance. Exploring a dazzling array of art works, and drawing from period recipes and menus, John Varriano considers the many, often surprising, ways that cooks and artists converged and drew from each other's worlds. Among other topics, he considers the significance of culinary images in Renaissance art; traces parallels in the use of ingredients such as eggs and oil in kitchens and in studios; examines centerpieces by artists that were made of food; looks at the emergence of the celebrity cook and celebrity painter; and much more. Woven throughout with the flavors and colors of the era, this book of Renaissance temptations expands our understanding of the traditional boundaries of creative expression.

Parallels in Food and Art
1. Artists and Cooks
2. Regional Tastes

Images of Food in Art
3. Significant Still Lifes
4. Sacred Suppers
5. Erotic Appetites

Food in the Studio, Art at the Table
6. Eggs, Butter, Lard, and Oil
7. Eating and Erudition
8. Edible Art

List of Illustrations and Credits
John Varriano is Idella Plimpton Kendall Professor of Art History at Mount Holyoke College. He is the author of Italian Baroque and Rococo Architecture, Rome: A Literary Companion, and Caravaggio: The Art of Realism.
“Delightful . . . . Banquet of a book.”—Paul Barolsky CAA Reviews
"John Varriano's book is not only a delightful read but draws fascinating parallels between two hitherto disparate fields: art history and the history of food in the Renaissance. Outstanding scholarship that opens whole new venues of inquiry."—Ken Albala, author of Eating Right in the Renaissance and Beans: A History

"Art history and food history have traditionally been separate disciplines, parallel universes. In this book John Varriano makes a cosmic leap and lures the two into a stimulating, provocative, and always entertaining study—a tasting menu of gastronomic and visual delights."—Gillian Riley, author of The Oxford Companion to Italian Food

"With wit and erudition, John Varriano shows us how broad cultural relationships can be drawn between the developments of Italian Renaissance art and the period's growing and changing interest in food. Enlightening and fascinating details greatly enhance our understanding of the roles that taste and temptation played in creating the early modern world."—David G. Wilkins, co-editor of History of Italian Renaissance Art

"Appetites for palate and palette are both whetted in Varriano's urbane and thoroughly magisterial study. What could be more satisfying than to feast on food and art together at the same historic table?"—Patrick Hunt, author of Renaissance Visions

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