The Art of the Artichoke with Dr. Demet Guzey

The Art of the Artichoke with Dr. Demet Guzey


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Sunday, May 23, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT
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A spiny thistle with edible buds has been an inspiration for artists, architects, and cooks since antiquity. Caravaggio is said to have attacked a waiter for it. Picasso depicted it as a weapon. Pablo Neruda called it an armed vegetable. The beauty of artichoke comes from its geometric repetition of leaves as well as its soft heart hidden under its armor. How did people get to the bottom of this spiny flower to find the treasure of taste that is subtle yet so stubborn? And what does it symbolize in art? 

In this seminar, we will look at artworks ranging from the 3rd century Roman mosaics in Tunisia to the Fontana del carciofo in Florence and Naples.  As we admire paintings from the still lifes of Guovanna Garzoni to portraits of Giuseppe Arcimboldo we will appreciate the art of artichoke and the Italians’ role in the cradle of carciofo –– providing the bridge for the diffusion of artichoke in Europe. We will pair this with what we know about how locals ate this vegetable and how it became a symbol of Roman cooking.

Led by an expert on history, art, and science of food, Demet Guzey, this course will take you on a journey in time across Italian art depicting the artichoke and its meaning in the minds and palates of Europeans. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of art as a window to the European food culture of the past and today.

For more in this series, we invite you to also explore:

Demet Guzey is a food writer based in Verona. She is the author of two culinary history books, Food on Foot and Mustard. Her writing on food history, travel and art appeared in EATEN, Fine Dining Lovers and Gastronomica. She teaches Food and Culture at USAC, an American study abroad consortium in Verona, Food Writing at Ozyegin University in Istanbul, and Food in Art for Le Cordon Bleu Online. She has a PhD in Food Science, a diploma in Gastronomy and a Level 3 WSET wine certification.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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