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Above: A section of Jasper Geeraerts's "Pronk Still Life with Lobster"
While some may bemoan our voracity for #foodporn as a sign of our impending demise as a species and a collective dumbing down, our desire to share pictures of aspirational foods with our fellow humans actually stretches back at least 500 years, according to a new study.
The Cornell University Food and Brand Lab analysed 750 European and American food paintings from the period 1500 to 2000 AD. Researchers found that the most commonly painted foods of the last 500 years, such as shellfish and exotic fruits, were not typical of everyday diets. Lobster was by far the most painted shellfish, while lemons, artichokes and pastries were also popular.
Osias Beert the Elder – "Dishes with Oysters, Fruit, and Wine"
Many of these foods, the authors suggest, were rare or expensive, or were added to make the paintings more aesthetically pleasing. “Our love affair with visually appealing, decadent, or status foods is nothing new,” says Andrew Weislogel, Ph.D. of Cornell University’s Johnson Museum of Art.
So you can tell people you are following in the footsteps of van Beijeren and Geeraerts next time you snap your dinner on your phone.