The Beauty of Food
One of my aims with Epicurean Epistles is to make its visual appeal as sparkling as its prose (bear with me on the latter). Food appeals to all our senses, but perhaps none so much as the visual. It’s quite simply beautiful, either in its au naturel state, or transformed into a mouth watering culinary masterpiece. Food writing is, you could say, a form of food art, but in this post I’ll be looking at a different form.
In looking for sources of beautiful food images, I came across an amazing artist, called Tjalf Sparnaay, whose creations I’ve been sprinkling liberally through the blog. Tjalf Sparnaay is a Dutch painter who specialises in photo-realism. His paintings of food look almost more real than reality. They are so meticulously rendered and so completely assume the identity of the subject, you feel you could actually eat them. At the same time, they bring some mysterious inner vitality to the food they portray, so that after you’ve seen Tjalf Sparnaay’s gorgeous version, you’ll never look at the humble fried egg in the same way again.
He’s a self taught artist, originally inspired by his compatriots Vermeer and Rembrandt. He is considered one of the world’s best practitioners in the school of Megarealism, part of the global art movement of Hyperrealism, and his paintings sell from anywhere between US$15,000 and $85,000
You can read more about him and his work at his website, and also on the blog Cuded: Design and Inspiration.
Below is a video about him that aired on Dutch television in November 2013 (with subtitles).
In an article published in the Daily Mail in November 2012, Tjalf Sparnaay is quoted as saying he wants to emphasise ‘the beauty of the contemporary commonplace’. This is exactly what the best food writing should do. Food is so commonplace, at least in our fortunate part of the world, that we take it for granted. Finding its beauty and depicting it visually or linguistically creates a feast for the senses that goes far beyond satisfaction of appetite.
This extraordinary artist has certainly done that with his paintings.
by Anne Green