DISCOMFORT FOOD: THE CULINARY IMAGINATION OF LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY FRENCH ART
From the publisher
At a time when chefs are celebrities and beautifully illustrated cookbooks, blogs, and Instagram posts make our mouths water, scholar Marni Reva Kessler trains her inquisitive eye on the depictions of food in nineteenth-century French art. Arguing that disjointed senses of anxiety, nostalgia, and melancholy underlie the superficial abundance in works by Manet, Degas, and others, Kessler shows how, in their images, food presented a spectrum of pleasure and unease associated with modern life.
Utilizing close analysis and deep archival research, Kessler discovers the complex narratives behind such beloved works as Manet's Fish (Still Life) and Antoine Vollon's Internet-famous Mound of Butter. Kessler brings to these works an expansive historical review, creating interpretations rich in nuance and theoretical implications. She also transforms the traditional paradigm for study of images of edible subjects, showing that simple categorization as still life is not sufficient.
Discomfort Food marks an important contribution to conversations about a fundamental theme that unites us as humans: food. Suggestive and accessible, it reveals the very personal, often uncomfortable feelings hiding within the relationship between ourselves and the representations of what we eat.
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