The Greatest Food Still Lifes in Art History

There are a few classic subjects that pop up repeatedly over the course of art history. There are the religious archetypes of the Madonna and Child and the Pieta; the portrait, in which an artist tries to faithfully capture a human likeness; and the still-life, a depiction of a group of physical objects. Right. So, how about we get to the delicious? Food holds a special place in visual culture and still lifes of food are an ongoing obsession with artists — not to mention, a personal favorite of our own. We scoped out the best food still lifes from the last few centuries, and delivered them fresh to you. Enjoy!

Jan Davidszoon de Heem, Still Life with Fruit and Ham, 1648-49

During the Dutch Baroque era in the 17th century, still life paintings were used kind of like how rappers use boast songs today — to demonstrate wealth, a form of over-the-top brag. Thus the crazy level of detail, the opulence, and the sensuality of paintings like de Heem’s depiction of sliced ham, lobster, peeled lemon, and a feast of other foods. Check out the shine on those bowls!