Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Learning From Art

As someone who spends hours searching through books reading first hand accounts and recipe's its nice to look at the colorful art brought to us by our ancestors. The colorful paintings provide a window to the past. They are the "snapshots" of the past. While photography was invented, and used, there are few images inside of homes and of common people carrying out their daily duties. For images that look into daily period life, I turn to paintings.
Some of the best domestic scenes were painted by Lilly Martin Spencer. Spencer used incredible details in her paintings that allow us to almost feel like part of the scene. 
Peeling Onions c. 1852
In Spencer's Painting Peeling Onions we can see the variety of fruits and vegetables, even the chicken waiting to be prepared. We can also see the utensils being used. The subject is hold a knife in her hand, and there is a spoon on the table. We can also see a small pot, some sort of bottle, and a crock on the table. This style of painting lets modern viewers see they shape and style of utensils that were used. The painting also shows us the variety of foods that were prepared.

The Young Wife First Stew c.1854

In this painting we have two subjects in the kitchen, preparing a meal(stew). Again, we see a variety of foods waiting to be prepared, mainly vegetables.  The kitchen in cluttered with ingredients, spilling off of the table onto the chair and to the floor. In this scene we get a wider look into a kitchen. The background is full of period gadgets! The shelves are full of crockery and tin ware waiting to be used. We get a glimpse of the fire place too. This scene allows us to see more the "kitchen" as much as the food being prepared.

By studying these paintings we can get a view of what a 19th Century Kitchen was really like. We can view a little piece of their world and get a better understanding of how they lived their daily lives. As a result we can improve our own interpretation, and our own presentations. 

No comments:

Post a Comment