Iconography, gastronomy and art of dining table

Publié le par Interdisciplin'art


Here is a quick presentation of my Pf D. Text in French : cliquer ici



Titre en anglais : Iconographic representation of the art of the dining table in France in the seventeenth and the eighteenth century.


Résumé en anglais : Iconographic representation of the art of the dining table in France in the seventeenth and the eighteenth century is composed of various elements : culinary preparation, cooking ustensils, consumption of dishes, the diversity of meals and table manners, decoration and table ornaments. Transposed on a variety of models and in different forms and formals, those themes and subjects by their interrelations create mirror effects which transform the decoration of the dining table into a theatrical show. Social and historical mores and aesthetic considerations blend and determine the two aspects of these images which at once determine the behaviour, taste and practice of those who ordored such works of art and of spectators (gastronomy, civility, sociability, intimacy, gallantry, libertinage, taste of the outdoor life, hunting, exoticism, literature, visual arts) but also, by their repetition and reflection, incite guests to conform to what they see by whetting their appetite through their senses.



The reputation of French gastronomy is well established. But how it was born ? Indeed, if this reputation is established, nobody doesn't know that it is during the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries that it's developping. This is a passionant subject I luckily studied when I was at the University. During 8 years, I worked on culinary and dining table iconography in France from Louis XIII's reign (1610) to French Revolution (1789).


In scientific research, it is a topic often studied in humans sciences disciplines (history, anthropology, sociology, etc. however, little studies exist in history of art and they are focused on still life and table objects. In history of art, the main book on the sujbect is the exhibition catalogue intitled Versailles et les tables royales en Europe who took place in 1993 in Versailles' castle and the conference proceedings around thi exhibition (published ten years after). They show what were alimentation, gastronomy and dining table during these two centuries.


Nevertheless, no global study on this topic of culinary iconography was never made before. I worked with sistematic analisis with the most  possible exhaustivity. I collected more than 1500 works art (paintings, engravings, ceramic objects, tapestries, etc.). This is this iconographic corpus cross-analysed with written sources (manuscripts, archives) and printed (I worked on 500 book published during the XVIIth and XVIIIth centuries) which permitted this history of art's work (in which I inserted others methodologies of the humanities.


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