Organised by National Gallery
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Food and femininity in 19th-century France
Why were Impressionist paintings likened to melted ice cream?
Impressionism is usually thought of as art for the eye alone, yet some of its most prominent critics told a different story.
Likening the artist to a chef, they alleged that artists such as Manet, Monet, Caillebotte and Pissarro seemed to paint with butter, melted ice cream and even regurgitated cheese.
Female figures in Impressionist paintings were compared to rotting meat in a butcher’s shop window, and viewing such paintings was imagined as a form of ingestion, with potentially sickening, even deadly, effects.
Revealing the visceral reactions that some of today’s best-loved paintings invited in their earliest viewers, art historian Allison Deutsch uncovers forgotten histories of Impressionism, and offers fresh possibilities for experiencing Impressionist art.
Dr Allison Deutsch is the Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of History of Art at Birkbeck, University of London. She is an historian of 19th-century French painting, with a special interest in feminist methodologies and sensory studies. Her book 'Consuming Painting, Food and the Feminine in Impressionist Paris' has recently been published by Penn State University Press.
Supported by Elizabeth and Daniel Peltz OBE
Image: Detail from Berthe Morisot, 'Summer's Day', about 1879