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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

33: Terra (Earth) from The Four Elements

Taste and Hearing are here combined. An elegant couple sits at a dessert table laden with sugar confectionery and succulent fruit. Musical instruments and scores share the spotlight with these earthly delights. The man strums a lute while looking lovingly at his consort, who has put her viol down to return his gaze. In the background, a man picks fruit while couples dance and have amorous liaisons. The Latin verse at the bottom describes Mother Earth’s generosity in contrast to the music-making couple’s overindulgence in food and drink and their implied lustful relationship.

Crispijn I de Passe (1564 –1637), after Maarten de Vos (1532 – 1603) Netherlands, 1613


Founder’s Bequest, 1816 (24.I.3-271)

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