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    The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals

    October 13, 2015–March 13, 2016

    Getty Research Institute

    Lively, colorful scene of bakers baking cakes and pies

    The pastry shop, Abraham Bosse, ca. 1600s. 2014.PR.63

  • Colorful map of a mythical land where food and riches fall from the sky and sprout from the land

    Description of the Land of Cockaigne, Where Whoever Works the Least Earns the Most, 1606. 2014.PR.72

  • Digitized book: André Félibien, Les plaisirs de l'Isle enchantée . . . (Paris, 1673). Image: The First Day: Feast for the King, and Queens, with Many Princesses and Ladies . . . Served by the Gods and the Four Seasons, Israël Silvestre the Younger, 1673, pl. 6. 84-B21384
    Note: Click page to turn

  • Temporary festival architecture adorned with meats, cheeses, and bread

    Cuccagna monument in front of the Palazzo Real in Naples celebrating the name day of Emperor Charles VI, Francesco de Grado after Michelangelo De Blasio, 1724. P910002

  • Section of a hand-colored scroll, showing the end of a procession with people drinking wine from a fountain and roasting a stuffed ox over an open fire

    The procession of Pope Clement VII and the Emperor Charles V after the coronation at Bologna on February 24, 1530 (detail), Nikolaus Hogenberg, 1535–39. P910002
    View a digitized version of the scroll.

  • Horse-drawn open pageant wagon, decorated with leaves, carrying costumed people and a tree full of sausages

    Pageant wagon for Shrove Monday, J. B. Lachmüller, 1837. From Die grosse offentliche Maskerade . . . (Bamberg, 1837), no. 7. 1375-152

  • Digitized book: Bartolomeo Scappi, Opera de M. Bartolomeo Scappi, cuoco secreto di Papa Pio Quinto (Venice, 1570). Image: Room Next to the Kitchen and Scullery, 1570, pls. 2, 3. 86-B27679
    Note: Click page to turn

  • Opulent banquet with satyrs serving the gods under swirling clouds

    The banquet of the Gods, Mathäus Küsel after Lodovico Ottavio Burnacini, 1668. From Antonio Cesti, Il pomo d'oro . . . (Vienna, 1668), pl. 3. 1375-410

  • Enormous sculptural centerpiece at an elaborate banquet table in the round

    Centerpiece for the feast of Senator Francesco Ratta . . ., Giacomo-Maria Giovannini after Marc'Antonio Chiarini, 1693. From Disegni del convito fatto dall'illustrissimo signor senatore Francesco Ratta (Bologna, 1693), frontispiece. 1366-803
    View a digitized version of this book.

  • Pyramidal display of silver platters, urns, vases, and tureens, decorating a hearth and side tables

    Credenza of silverware in the Palazzo Vizzani in Bologna, 1693. From Giuseppe Mazza, La custodia d'oro (Bologna, 1693), pl. 1. 1521-694
    View a digitized version of this book.

  • Digitized book: André Félibien, Relation de la feste de Versailles du 18. juillet mil six cens soixante-huit (Paris, 1679). Image: Feast Given in the Small Park at Versailles, 1678, Jean Le Pautre, 1679, pl. 3. 84-B21388
    Note: Click page to turn

  • Ornately carved sugar sculptures of Juno and Cybele in chariots drawn by lions and peacocks

    Triumphs of Cybele and Juno, Arnold van Westerhout after Giovanni Battista Lenardi, 1687. From John Michael Wright, Raggvaglio della solenne comparsa (Rome, 1687), pl. 11. 83-B3076
    View a digitized version of this book.

  • Digitized book: André Félibien, Les divertissemens de Versailles donnez par le roy . . . (Paris, 1676). Image: The Fourth Day: Feast around the Fountain of the Marble Court, Celebrating Louis XIV's Conquest of Franche-Comté, Jean Le Pautre, 1676, after p. 18. 84-B21393
    Note: Click page to turn

  • Rats on a dining table after a feast, enjoying the leftovers

    The city rat and the country rat, with a surtout, Jean Ouvrier after Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1755–59. From Jean de la Fontaine, Fables choisies, mises en vers (Paris, 1755–59), 1:18. 84-B18675

  • Table plan with 100 settings, decorated like a city with edible buildings and fountains

    Table with One Hundred Settings, 1747. From Juan de la Mata, Arte de reposteria (Madrid, 1747), pl. 10. 1405-324

  • Banquet table covered in elaborate sugar sculptures of fish, birds, lions, and many other animals including a unicorn

    Table with sugar figures for the marriage of Johann Wilhelm, Duke of Jülich, Frans Hogenberg, 1587. From Theodor Graminaeus, Beschreibung derer fürstlicher güligscher &c. Hochzeit (Cologne, 1587), pl. 7. 86-B22668

The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals

October 13, 2015–March 13, 2016, Getty Research Institute

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Elaborate artworks made of food were created for royal court and civic celebrations in early modern Europe. Like today's Rose Bowl Parade on New Year’s Day or Mardi Gras just before Lent, festivals were times for exuberant parties. Public celebrations and street parades featured large-scale edible monuments made of breads, cheeses, and meats. At court festivals, banquet settings and dessert buffets displayed magnificent table monuments with heraldic and emblematic themes made of sugar, flowers, and fruit. This exhibition, drawn from the Getty Research Institute's Festival Collection, features rare books and prints, including early cookbooks and serving manuals that illustrate the methods and materials for making edible monuments.

Related Events

Darra Goldstein and The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Conversation and Book Signing
Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 2:00 p.m.
Museum Lecture Hall, Getty Center
--Note: change of venue--

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Edible Delights in History

Panel Discussion
Saturday, November 14, 2015, 2:00 p.m.
Harold M. Williams Auditorium, Getty Center

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Dining Well at the Medieval Court

Lecture by Christina Normore
Sunday, November 15, 2015, 3:00 p.m.
Museum Lecture Hall, Getty Center

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Playing the Scalco: Serving Meals Directly from Renaissance Banquet Literature

Lecture by Ken Albala
Sunday, January 10, 2016, 4:00 p.m.
Museum Lecture Hall, Getty Center

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Making Sugar Sculpture

Workshops by Ivan Day
Sunday, January 31, 2016
11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
Museum Studios, Getty Center
—sold out—

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Eating the Edifice

Lecture by Ivan Day
Sunday, January 31, 2016, 4:00 p.m.
Museum Lecture Hall, Getty Center

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Royal Cavities: The Bitter Implications of Sugar Consumption in Early Modern Europe

Lecture by Joseph Imorde
Sunday, February 21, 2016, 4:00 p.m.
Museum Lecture Hall, Getty Center

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Bartolomeo Scappi’s Paper Kitchens

Lecture by Deborah Krohn
Sunday, March 6, 2016, 4:00 p.m.
Museum Lecture Hall, Getty Center

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Gallery Tours

Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.
October 13–December 10, 2015

Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.
January 14–March 10, 2016


Related Exhibition

related exhibition banner: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: Food in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, also at the Getty Center

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: Food in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
October 13, 2015–January 3, 2016
Getty Center
Illuminated manuscripts from this exhibition depict farming, cooking, and feasting, as well as food’s symbolic meaning in Christianity.

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