Skip to main content

Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

170: The Worship of the Golden Calf

The Worship of the Golden Calf This painting depicts the Old Testament story of the Israelites’ idolatrous worship of the golden calf. This narrative carried moralistic undertones, since excessive eating was deemed immoral, leading to the sins of Greed, Gluttony, and Lust. Although the disobedient Israelites are shown in ‘ancient’ dress, the food and tableware is the height of seventeenth- century fashion. Roast fowl, pies surmounted by stuffed birds, artichokes, and various ripe fruits, including cherries, peaches, grapes and melons – all with sexual connotation – are served on silver or pewter platters, similar to those on the Baroque feasting table recreated nearby.

Frans Francken the Younger (1581–1642)

Antwerp, Belgium, c.1630 – 35 Oil on panel

Given by Augustus Arthur Vansittart, 1864 (262)

Conserved by Maria Carolina Peña Mariño at the Hamilton Kerr Institute

The Worship of the Golden Calf Buy a print
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn RSS feed for events RSS feed for stories
University of Cambridge Museums logo Designation scheme Logo Accredited Museum status logo Cambridge City Council Logo Arts Council England Logo Research England logo