Dine & Wine

Desserts in Paintings for Art Lovers with a Sweet Tooth

Magda Michalska 19 April 2024 min Read

If you’re craving something sweet our selection of desserts represented in paintings will help you survive. I’ve prepared something I can hold on to when I feel I need a sweet snack. Or two. Hopefully, the paintings won’t make you crave sweets even more…

Ice Cream Dessert

Andy Warhol, Ice Cream Dessert, 1959
Desserts in Paintings for Art Lovers with Sweet Tooth: Andy Warhol, Ice Cream Dessert, 1959, Tate and National Galleries of Scotland, London, UK. Museum’s website.

Andy Warhol had a sweet tooth, too. He admitted once: “all I ever really want is sugar”. He had his favorite Serendipity 3 café where he held parties and meetings, and this colorful dessert most probably comes from there. You can find it at 225 East 60th Street, between Second and Third Avenues in New York.

Hyperrealistic Painting of Doughnuts

Visual Snacks for People Craving Something Sweet: Tjalf Sparnaay, Donuts, 2015
Desserts in Paintings for Art Lovers with Sweet Tooth: Tjalf Sparnaay, Donuts, 2015, painter’s private collection. Artist’s website.

Oh, these doughnuts are so tempting… Who could possibly resist this hyperrealistic painting? And to make the situation worse, Sparnaay, a contemporary Dutch painter, specializes in hyperrealistic depictions of food. If you ever feel hungry, look up his paintings of burgers, fried eggs, or profiteroles… It’s a shame they’re not edible.

Moment of Weakness

Godfried Schalcken, Young Girl Eating Sweets, 1680–8
Desserts in Paintings for Art Lovers with Sweet Tooth: Godfried Schalcken, Young Girl Eating Sweets, 1680–8, Eijk and Rose-Marie van Otterloo Collection, Boston, MA, USA. Wikimedia Commons (public domain).

Having seen those doughnuts I need a short break…
(This painting is so consoling, I feel comforted to see that snacking on sweets in secret is a centuries-old problem.)


Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes, 1963
Desserts in Paintings for Art Lovers with Sweet Tooth: Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes, 1963, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA. Museum’s website.

Wayne Thiebaud is an American painter most famous for depictions of ordinary objects. In the early 1960s, he centered his painting around food. This choice of popular products as subjects for painting and the use of bright colors brought him to be associated with Pop Art.
Some interpreted his works as expressing critique of American consumerism but Thiebaud claimed that they were born out of his nostalgia for old times rather than contempt.

A Table Full of Sweet Desserts

Jan Davidsz de Heem, A Table of Desserts, 1640
Desserts in Paintings for Art Lovers with Sweet Tooth: Jan Davidsz de Heem, A Table of Desserts, 1640, Louvre Museum, Paris, France. Wikimedia Commons (public domain).

To polish off I’m giving you a real feast. You can find here all kinds of fruit, alcohol, a pie, and even some bread. Jan Davidsz de Heem knew how to party. He was one of the most famous Flemish and Dutch (he lived both in Utrecht and Antwerp) still-life painters, and his specialization was pronkstilleven: very sumptuous still lifes.
The only thing missing in the painting is a person eating it all and then playing the lute.

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Ernest Higgins Rigg, The Potato Pickers, undated, Bradford Museums, UK. ArtUK. Dine & Wine

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