Ivan Day

Monday, November 12, 2007, 12pm

VCU Student Commons

The Edible Edifice – from the medieval period to the early twentieth century, food was frequently used as an artistic medium to create edible sculpture for the tables of the rich and powerful. A papal dinner in seventeenth-century Rome for instance, was not complete without a table centrepiece made of sugar which depicted scenes from Christ’s Passion, executed by pupils of Bernini in a lively Baroque style. ¬†Full scale architectural structures, such as pavilions and palaces were constructed every year in the Piazza Reale in Naples for the annual coccagna festival. These huge edifices, made of cakes, hams and parmesan cheeses, were used as sets for open air operatic performances before they were ransacked by the poor of the city. In this illustrated lecture, British food historian Ivan Day discusses the history and development of edible art of this kind from the period of the early Florentine Renaissance to the rise of modernity.

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