Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: Food in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

October 13, 2015–January 3, 2016, Getty Center

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The cultivation, preparation, and consumption of food formed the framework for daily labor and leisure in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Illuminated manuscripts offer images of the chores that produced sustenance, cooking techniques, popular dishes, grand feasts, and diners of different social classes. Food had powerful symbolic meaning in Christian devotional practice as well as in biblical stories and saintly miracles, where it nourished both the body and the soul.

Related Events

A variety of special programs complement the exhibition. All events are free, unless otherwise noted. Seating reservations are required. For reservations and information, please call (310) 440-7300 or see information on planning a visit.

Dining Well at the Medieval Court

From the agrarian cycle of planting and harvest to the religious cycles of fasts and feasts, food deeply structured the life experiences of medieval people at all social levels. Christina Normore, professor of art history at Northwestern University, explains how banquets marking important occasions offered a range of sensuous pleasures for the tongue, eye, and ear, as well as a range of moral lessons, tying together the ethical and the pleasurable to form an ideal of the good life for medieval elites.
Sunday, November 15, 3:00 p.m.
Getty Center: Museum Lecture Hall

Culinary Workshop: Feast and Festival

Discover the history of feasting and the aesthetics of food in the Middle Ages and Renaissance as explored in the exhibitions Eat, Drink, and Be Merry: Food in the Middle Ages and Renaissance and The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals, then prepare and enjoy a celebratory meal inspired by period recipes and ingredients with Maite Gomez-Rejon of Artbites. Course fee $85. Complimentary parking.
Thursday, November 5, 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Repeats Friday, November 6.
Getty Center, Private Dining Room

Curator’s Gallery Tour

Christine Sciacca, assistant curator of manuscripts, the J. Paul Getty Museum, leads a tour of the exhibition.
Tuesday, November 17, 2:30 p.m.
Getty Center: Museum galleries



The Medieval Calendar
The medieval calendar served as a map of the Church year. While following the method of the Roman calendar in determining dates, it also listed saints' days and other religious feasts and recorded the phases of the moon.

Mobile Tours

mobile tour

Discover how people ate, celebrated, and related to food in medieval and Renaissance Europe. Go to on your mobile device to take the Art of Food mobile tour in the gallery.

Free GettyGuide® Multimedia Player

Mobile Gallery Icon
Celebrate the food and drink in these manuscripts with Getty Curators. Pick up a multimedia player free of charge in the Museum Entrance Hall.



Publications are available in the Getty Museum Store, by calling (310) 440-7333, or online.

Exhibition Checklist

Related Exhibition

the edible monument
The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals

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.
October 13, 2015–March 13, 2016
Getty Center

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