We know that people eat with their eyes first, so a great recipe should be both delicious and visually appealing. Where else could be better for dining inspiration, then, than the world of art? Artists have been rendering important meals, beautiful produce, and banquet spreads for hundreds of years. Here are 5 art pieces that will have you ready to sit down for dinner.

The Most Famous Meal

It would be impossible to look at representations of food in art without turning to the most famous meal in art history: The Last Supper. A fifteenth century masterpiece by Leonardo Da Vinci, The Last Supper depicts Christ gathering for a final meal with his disciples before soldiers take him away to be crucified. While the meal consists only of bread and wine, what would go on to become the traditional Christian Eucharist, no other meal figures so dramatically in art history. 

Mega-Realism To Make Your Stomach Growl

On a totally different note, the mega-realist food art by Dutch painter Tjalf Sparnaay is all about the food. Sparnaay’s paintings depict towering hamburgers with glistening tomatoes, roasted meats and vegetables, and crumbling bread topped with hard-boiled eggs. Each of Sparnaay’s images could easily be mistaken for a photograph, and yet their imagined nature makes them even more luscious, as Sparnaay is able to detail each dish in its prime. Nothing is left to chance.

Sparnaay may be little known by anyone who isn’t a major art collector, but is known by those who pay attention to the realist painting scene. Talk to art collectors and you’ll hear that Sparnaay’s work is selling rapidly and at high prices. After all, what more could you want from art than a picture that looks good enough to eat?

The Impression Of Fresh Fruit

When people talk about depictions of food in art, one of the most commonly discussed pieces is Paul Cezanne’s Un Coin de Table. Un Coin de Table depicts an odd, yet beautiful array of apples on a table, spilled out on a cloth. Though the image is not especially realistic, the fruit is elegant and the overall painting is marked by rustic charm. Any baker who sees this Cezanne piece will be ready to snap up fresh apples and turn them into the perfect pie.

Photos Of Home

The kitchen is a space of intimacy, but it takes a skilled eye to truly capture life in that room. Carrie Mae Weems has such an eye and her Kitchen Table Series, a collection of silver gelatin prints, feature a single woman – Weems herself, in fact – experiencing the major emotions of her personal life at the table. 

In the Kitchen Table Series, Weems shows herself embracing motherhood, dealing with loss, and coming to a place of self-reliance. Although food does not figure extensively in these images, the depth of emotion present in them will make the viewer want to gather their family close around that all important table.

A Sweet Ending

Perfectly capturing the colors and textures of pure Americana, Wayne Thiebaud takes the food of our everyday lives and renders it vibrantly. His 1963 painting, Cakes, depicts an elaborate deli counter display. Featuring vanilla frosted Bundt cakes, these cakes would make the perfect centerpiece for any birthday or dinner party - if only they weren’t a combination of paint and canvas. His impasto style brings the frosting to life, making it appear with the thick and luscious texture you would find on a table. This is certainly art that’s good enough to eat.


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