Exhibition | The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 6, 2015


Marcantonio Chiarini and Giacomo-Maria Giovannini, Disegni del convito fatto dall’illustrissimo signor senatore Francesco Ratta all’illustrissimo publico, eccelsi signori anziani and altra nobilità: terminando il svo confalonierato li 28. febraro 1693 (The Getty Museum). More information is available here.

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

The Edible Monument revisits the exhibition mounted at the Getty in 2000, with the publication this fall of an accompanying catalogue.

The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals
The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, 13 October 2015 — 23 March 2016
Detroit Institute of Arts, 16 December 2016 — 16 April 2017

Curated by Marica Reed

Elaborate artworks made of food were created for royal court and civic celebrations in early modern Europe. Like today’s Rose Bowl Parade on New Year’s Day or Mardi Gras just before Lent, festivals were times for exuberant parties. Public celebrations and street parades featured large-scale edible monuments made of breads, cheeses, and meats. At court festivals, banquet settings and dessert buffets displayed magnificent table monuments with heraldic and emblematic themes made of sugar, flowers, and fruit. This exhibition, drawn from the Getty Research Institute’s Festival Collection, features rare books and prints, including early cookbooks and serving manuals that illustrate the methods and materials for making edible monuments.

Edited by Marcia Reed with contributions by Charissa Bremer-David, Joseph Imorde, Marcia Reed, and Anne Willan, The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals (Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2015), 192 pages, ISBN 978-1-60606-454-2, $35.

9781606064542_grandeThe Edible Monument considers the elaborate architecture, sculpture, and floats made of food that were designed for court and civic celebrations in early modern Europe. These include popular festivals such as Carnival and the Italian Cuccagna. Like illuminations and fireworks, ephemeral artworks made of food were not well documented and were challenging to describe because they were perishable and thus quickly consumed or destroyed. In times before photography and cookbooks, there were neither literary models nor a repertoire of conventional images for how food and its preparation should be explained or depicted. Although made for consumption, food could also be a work of art, both as a special attraction and as an expression of power. Formal occasions and spontaneous celebrations drew communities together, while special foods and seasonal menus revived ancient legends, evoking memories and recalling shared histories, values, and tastes. Drawing on books, prints, and scrolls that document festival arts, elaborate banquets, and street feasts, the essays in this volume examine the mythic themes and personas employed to honor and celebrate rulers; the methods, materials, and wares used to prepare, depict, and serve food; and how foods such as sugar were transformed to express political goals or accomplishments.

Marcia Reed is chief curator at the Getty Research Institute. She is coeditor of China on Paper (Getty Publications, 2007).

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊



1  Marcia Reed—Food, Memory, and Taste
2  Marica Reed—Court and Civic Festivals
3  Marcia Reed—Feasting in the Streets: Carnivals and the Cuccagna
4  Joseph Imorde—Edible Prestige
5  Charissa Bremer-David—Of Cauliflower and Crayfish: Serving Vessels to Awaken the Palate
6  Anne Willan—Behind the Scenes

Illustration Credits

◊  ◊  ◊  ◊  ◊

Note (added 2 November 2016) — The DIA venue was not included in the original posting.


Smithsonian American Art Museum Fellowships, 2016–17

Posted in fellowships, graduate students by Editor on October 6, 2015

Smithsonian American Art Museum Fellowships, 2016–17
Applications due by 1 December 2015

The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and its Renwick Gallery invite applications for research fellowships in the art, craft, and visual culture of the United States. Fellowships are residential and support full-time independent and dissertation research.

Each scholar is provided a carrel in SAAM’s Fellowship Office, situated across the street from the museum. Available research resources there include a 180,000-volume library that specializes in American art, history, and biography; the Archives of American Art; the graphics collections of SAAM and the National Portrait Gallery; the Joseph Cornell Study Center; and the Nam June Paik Archive, as well as a variety of image collections and research databases. During their stay at SAAM, scholars will be part of one of the nation’s oldest and most distinguished fellowship programs in American art and will have the opportunity to attend a wide variety of lectures, symposia, and professional workshops. Short research trips are also possible.

Qualifications and Selection

Predoctoral applicants must have completed coursework and preliminary examinations for their doctoral degree and must be engaged in dissertation research. Postdoctoral fellowships are available to support specific research projects by scholars who have earned a PhD or equivalent. Senior fellowships are intended for scholars with a distinguished publication record who have held their doctoral degree for more than seven years or who possess a commensurate record of professional accomplishment at the time of application.

Applications will be evaluated on the quality of the proposed research project and the applicant’s academic standing, scholarly qualifications, and experience. The project’s compatibility with Smithsonian collections, facilities, staff, and programs will also be considered. A committee of curators and historians will review the proposals.


SAAM hosts fellows supported by the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program and also offers the following named fellowships:

The Joe and Wanda Corn Fellowship is endowed by their former students Mike Wilkins and Sheila Duignan and supports scholars whose research interests span American art and American history. The recipient will be jointly appointed at SAAM and NMAH (National Museum of American History) and will draw on the resources of both museums.

The Douglass Foundation Fellowship in American Art is given for predoctoral research in American art.

The Patricia and Phillip Frost Fellowship is offered to support research in American art and visual culture.

The George Gurney Fellowship funds a one- to three-month research appointment in American art, preferably sculpture, in honor of the distinguished career of SAAM’s former curator of sculpture.

The James Renwick Fellowship in American Craft is available for research in American studio crafts or decorative arts from the nineteenth century to the present.

The Sara Roby Fellowship in Twentieth-Century American Realism is awarded to a scholar whose research topic is in the area of American realism.

The Joshua C. Taylor Fellowship is supported by alumni and friends of the fellowship program.

The Terra Foundation Fellowships in American Art seek to foster a cross-cultural dialogue about the history of the art of the United States up to 1980. Three twelve-month fellowships will be awarded annually, one each at the predoctoral, postdoctoral, and senior levels, to scholars from abroad who are researching American art or to U.S. scholars who are investigating international contexts for American art.

The William H. Truettner Fellowship supports one to three months of research, in recognition of Mr. Truettner’s career of nearly fifty years as a curator of painting and sculpture at SAAM.

The Wyeth Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship is awarded for the advancement and completion of a doctoral dissertation that concerns the study, appreciation, and recognition of excellence in all aspects of American art.


The stipend for a one-year predoctoral fellowship is $32,700 plus research and travel allowances. The stipend for a one-year postdoctoral or senior fellowship is $48,000 plus research and travel allowances. The standard term of residency is twelve months, but shorter terms will be considered; stipends are prorated for periods of less than twelve months.

Applicants are encouraged to share their research proposals with potential Smithsonian advisors before submitting applications. For research consultation, contact Amelia Goerlitz at GoerlitzA@si.edu or Emily D. Shapiro at ShapiroED@si.edu.

For Applications or General Information

Call SAAM’s Fellowship Office at (202) 633-8353 or e-mail AmericanArtFellowships@si.edu. A link to the online application for the Smithsonian Institution Fellowship Program can be accessed via our website. Applicants should propose a primary advisor/supervisor from SAAM to be eligible for a fellowship at this unit. Only one application is necessary; applicants will automatically be considered for all relevant awards. December 1, 2015, is the application deadline for fellowships that begin on or after June 1, 2016. Awards are based on merit. Fellowships are open to all qualified persons regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or condition of handicap. The Smithsonian Institution’s Office of International Relations will assist with arranging J-1 exchange visas for fellowship recipients who require them. For other Smithsonian opportunities, visit the Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships webpage or e-mail siofi@si.edu.

%d bloggers like this: