Fruits of the Earth: Food and Art

Sara Riccardi

giuseppe arcimboldo rudolf II of habsburg as vertumnus c. 1590 oil on panel skokloster castle
This is a past event
Date and time
1 February 2024
6.30 pm
£15.00 (non-members)


What do food and art have in common? What reflections can representations of different types of edible goods inspire?

This talk, presented by art historian Sara Riccardi, will focus on food in art, from traditional Dutch still lives, such as those painted by Jan Davidsz. de Heem, to contemporary candy floss installations.

The presence of food in the visual arts across the centuries is very common, and its significance highly varied. Some foods have symbolic meanings, linked to religious or mythological traditions. Some function as status symbols, when found in certain areas at specific times in history. Others can make us reflect on the connection between society and nature and, in contrast, on our modern-day consumerist habits. Sara will explore these themes, starting from examples of artworks that present a link to food, in some way or another.

By looking at food from the angle of its artistic representation, this talk will seek to inspire a new insight into our aesthetic experience of it. You will be encouraged to think about the meaning of food in our lives, and its role in different societies at different times. Sara’s presentation will inspire a new appreciation of one of the most fundamental experiences – that of nourishing our body with what the Earth offers us.

Image: Detail of 'Rudolf II of Habsburg as Vertumnus' by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, c. 1590

sara riccardi

Sara Riccardi

Sara Riccardi is an art historian from Rome. During her BA and MA at La Sapienza University, Rome, she specialized in mid-15th century Italian painting. After moving to the UK, she founded her own company, Art Across, working as a freelance public speaker.

She is currently a PhD researcher in the School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University, with a practice-based project that interrogates and analyses the communication of art history outside of academia.

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