Bread and Art

June 9, 2017 | posted in

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We really enjoy the fresh sourdough and olive bread each time we come to the Union Market in Washington DC. We always get some fresh vegetables, an assortment of interesting cheeses, and a condiment or two (don't give us that look... mayo is a good thing!) and we're set for lunch all week!


Great bread and great prices! I've been buying their bread for years and have never been disappointed. I prefer to buy in Union Market because I believe it's fresher, but I have also purchased from Glen's Market in Shaw. Sometimes the selection is slim later in the day on weekends so get there early if you need something specific.


There are two things that have existed from almost the beginning of time. Bread and Art.

The earliest known cave paintings/drawings of animals are at least 35,000 years old and are found in Indonesia, according to datings announced in 2014. (1.)

  1.  Ghosh, Pallab. “Cave paintings change ideas about the origin of art”BBC News. BBC News. Retrieved 8 October 2014.


That’s the serious stuff done with.

Bread, as we’ve covered in a previous post, was first made around 8000 BC in Ancient Egypt, so it came a fair bit later than art. Before long, it came to feature in many a painting.

Both art and bread have become staples, and this post will touch on the appearance of bread in art throughout the ages. Note, this isn’t a highbrow critique of any of the artists’ works; it’s a lighthearted posting in a time when most news seems to be bad news.


Bread + Art = Happiness


The Milkmaid by Jan Vermeer

Vermeer, best known for his Girl With a Pearl Earring painted The Milkmaid between 1658 and 1661. That looks like a lovely sourdough she’s made.


A Plate of Rolls by Vincent van Gogh

More famous for his flowers than his rolls, van Gogh painted this in 1887. I spy baguettes as well as a croissant. The artist was in Paris when he painted this, so it’s not surprising that he chose to paint his lunch. Where else in the world can one find such aesthetically pleasing pain? Pain as in the French word for bread, bien sur.


Breakfast by Diego Velasquez

Painted  c.1618, and simply entitled Breakfast. The thumbs-up and smiles say it all, really. Bread is happiness as well as allegedly the most important meal of the day.


The Fasting of St Charles (detail) by Daniele Crespi

Painted c.1625; although St Charles was fasting, the dude still had bread. Proof that bread is in its own category of life essentials and thereby exempt from any rules.


Portrait of a Dog by Giovanna Garzi

Back when one could place their little dog on the table alongside bread and nothing untoward would happen. Err, NEVER? This looks like a slice of some white bread. Could do with some honey, if you ask us.


Boy with Basket of Bread by Evaristo Baschenis

A basket of different breads being carried by a somewhat scary looking boy. Don’t accept bread from strangers, especially this fellow. I spy a ficelle, some pretzels, perhaps even some wholewheat…I might risk it.


Bread and Knife, 1934 by Walter Kuhn

Simply beautiful. The painting says it all. Soft white?


Bread, 1969 by Jasper Johns

Proving how iconic the role of bread is, this piece is merely a slice of it. No more, no less. Frankly, we’d like to see it with at least a smidge of butter on it, but art, as we know is subjective.


Wishing you all a lovely weekend that contains at least one or five slices of bread in it.