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Good enough to eat

October 1st, 2018

Cornelius Krieghoff. Breaking Lent (or A Friday’s Surprise), c. 1847. Oil on canvas, 36.6 x 54.4 cm. The Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario. © 2017 Art Gallery of Ontario 2009/472

It’s chilly outside and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. To get ready, we’ve gathered a selection of paintings from the AGO Collection that focuses on delicious food and dining.

Here are some artworks for the gourmand.

Still Life: Fish, 1600s

Johannes Pietersz. Fabritius. Still Life: Fish, 17th century. Oil on canvas, 110.5 x 150.5 cm. Purchase, Laidlaw Foundation, 1966. © 2018 Art Gallery of Ontario.

This visceral painting by Dutch painter Johannes Pietersz Fabritius shows a scene of a fishing wharf after a bountiful catch. The fish in the painting are freshly caught, gutted and hooked. And the tangle of eels, laying on top of a freshly filleted salmon, look like they could wriggle right off the canvas. Fabritius was known for his evocative still life paintings and this one can be found on Level 1 in E.R. Wood Gallery, Gallery 121.

Evisceration of a Roebuck with a Portrait of a Married Couple

Frans Snyders. Evisceration of a Roebuck with a Portrait of a Married Couple, c. 1625. Oil on cradled wood panel, Unframed: 124.5 × 177.8 cm. Gift from the John Paris Bickell Bequest Fund, 1952. © 2017 Art Gallery of Ontario 51/71

Look at this spread – lobster, meat and so much fruit! Paintings like this one by artists Frans Snyders and Cornelis de Vos were incredibly popular among wealthy art patrons, who had both the means and the land on which to hunt. Snyders liked to paint game animals before they were prepared for cooking. The decadent feast depicted in this work was intended to show off the couple’s wealth and can be found on Level 1 in E.R. Wood Gallery, Gallery 121.

Lunch, Around 1901

James Wilson Morrice. Lunch, c. 1901. Oil on wood, 15.4 x 12.6 cm. The Thomson Collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario. © 2018 Art Gallery of Ontario.

Bustling cafes and restaurants like the one depicted in this painting by James Wilson Morrice, became popular among early 20th century foodies after the French Revolution. During this time many cooks, who were previously employed by aristocrats, found themselves out of work. To earn a living, cooks set up these urban dining spots, which inspired many artists during this period. This work can be found on Level 2 in the Thomson Collection of Canadian Art in Gallery 220.

All the paintings mentioned above, including the image above of Cornelius Krieghoff’s Breaking Lent (or A Friday’s Surprise), which can be found on Level 2, are now on view and are included in General Admission.

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