Feast for the Eyes

From the moment a prehistoric hunter first sketched a fish swimming across a cave wall, artists have found inspiration in food and the rituals of eating. The beauty, pathos, symbolism, and historical documentation contained in artists' culinary portrayals are the compelling subjects of Food and Feasting in Art, published in February by the J. Paul Getty Museum. This compact, endlessly enlightening book is an annotated gallery spanning a thousand years' worth of masterworks. From Byzantine mosaics of the Last Supper to Warhol's soup cans, Caravaggio's cherries to Renaissance compositions—such as Annibale Carracci's The Butcher's Shop—the works speak volumes of the eras in which they were produced, and yet their familiar themes are keenly evocative of our own time.