Imagine towering centerpieces made of candy, sculpted landscapes of meat and cheese, and pastry-filled trees. In early modern Europe, these fanciful creations were a reality, crafted for festivals and celebrations. Explore the enticing designs for these ornate — and tasty — creations in the Getty’s new exhibition, The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals , and don’t miss these exhibition highlights.
The Ultimate Roast
Feast with stuffed ox (detail), 1530, from Nicholas Hogenber. Procession of Pope Clement VII and the Emperor Charles V after the coronation at Bologna on the 24th February, MDXXX. Hand-colored etching pasted on canvas scroll. The Getty Research Institute.
The Thanksgiving turducken is nothing compared to this stuffed ox on a 14-foot section of the scroll, The procession of Pope Clement VII and the Emperor Charles V after the coronation at Bologna on February 24, 1530, pictured above. Roasted in the streets and stuffed with chickens, pigs, lambs, and hares, this barbeque provided grab-and-go food for those celebrating the coronation of Charles V.
The Chef’s Kitchen A unique display of the tools and cookbooks used in the early modern European kitchen, including instructions on how to carve a pig and diagrams demonstrating how to intricately sculpt fruit. You’ll be left wondering what tools and recipes are missing from your kitchen.
The Photo Op
Palace of Circe (Dessert Table, after Menon) (detail), 2015, Ivan Day. Sugar sculptures on mirror glass base. The Getty Research Institute.
Over five feet long, the Palace of Circe (Dessert Table, after Menon) is an impressive re-creation of a sugar paste-sculpted centerpiece. With a miniature garden and pint-sized guests, this sculpture is more than just a centerpiece, it’s a storybook — and is definitely worth adding to your camera roll.
The Farmers Market Farmers markets and street food vendors have always been around, but it wasn’t until the 16th century that they began to make a more prominent appearance in art. This collection of prints showcases the hardworking folk selling their goods, and even highlights some of their trademark street calls. Be ready to see your local farmers market in a new light.
The Dinner Party
Pair of Tureens, Liners, and Stands (detail), 1726–29, Thomas Germain and Francois-Thomas Germain. Silver. The Getty Research Institute.
You’ll have major table envy when you see the numerous illustrations diagramming different napkin folds and grand table settings, including fireworks and torches that were used for celebratory banquets.
The Baker’s Corner Sugar molds, shaping tools, and colorful, natural dyes: everything a baker could dream of! Creating the grand centerpieces for royal feasts and banquets took great skill, and while a good craftsman never blames his tools, it certainly helps to have the right equipment.
The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals is open now through March 13, 2016. For more information visit getty.edu or Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @TheGetty.