fbpx
Connect with us

DailyArtMagazine.com – Art History Stories

Hot Chocolate Paintings for a Cozy Evening

Drawing of a London coffee-and-chocolate house, c. 1690–1700, The British Museum, London.

Food

Hot Chocolate Paintings for a Cozy Evening

Although December has been extremely warm this year I still crave a good old hot chocolate and a cozy evening under the blankets.

The Gift for Strangers

Salvador Dalí, Casanova- Cup of Chocolate, 1967, private collection.

Chocolate means ‘Food of the Gods’ and although all social classes of ancient Mayan people could drink it, it was mostly reserved solely for the priests and the elite of their society. Therefore, when Columbus arrived in 1502 on Guanaja island on his fourth voyage he was offered cocoa (cacao) beans, a gift worthy of the strangers coming from beyond the horizon.

Fashion for the Kings

Giuseppe Bonito, Infanta Maria Josefa of Spain, 1759, Galeria Caylus, Madrid, Spain.

Columbus’ contemporaries were rather wary of the bitter taste of cocoa. With time, Europeans learned to dissolve sugar and vanilla into their hot chocolate making the drink fashionable for aristocratic families, though the Spanish kept it secret for a while from the rest of Europe. Yet, when something becomes popular it is bound to be documented; hot chocolate showed up in painting for the first time in the 17th century. Here we can see Infanta Maria Josefa of Spain, daughter of the Spanish King Charles III, portrayed with her two favorite things: her puppy, and a cup of hot chocolate.

Good Morning Sweetie

Pietro Longhi, Morning Chocolate, mid-18th C, Ca’ Rezzonico (Museo del Settecento), Venice, Italy.

The powerful and energetic drink, hot chocolate quickly became a typical breakfast of aristocrats. Accompanied by a glass of water and a sweet pastry, it provided a positive boost for a tiring day of socializing and networking.

Jean-Etienne Liotard, Breakfast, 1754, Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany.

Hot Chocolate Bath?

Anonymous, Lady with Hot Chocolate in a Bath, 18th C. Source: https://www.pitturaomnia.com/pitturaomnia_000131.htm.

The morning chocolate routine began in bed, as Pietro Longhi‘s portrayal of Venetian high society shows, yet this anonymous work proves that one could drink chocolate anywhere, even in a bath. What can be more indulgent than that?!

From Painting to Advertising

Jean-Etienne Liotard, A Lady Pouring Chocolate or A Dutch Girl at Breakfast,
c. 1744, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

Jean-Etienne Liotard, a Swiss painter, created an entire series dedicated to ladies drinking or serving hot chocolate. For example the painting below, showing a maid serving a cup of hot chocolate and a glass of water, was considered a masterpiece by Liotard’s contemporaries and it inspired many copyists to make replicas. Later, when hot chocolate became even more popular, the image inspired advertisements on Droste’s (a Dutch chocolate manufacturer) cocoa tins.

Jean-Etienne Liotard, Chocolate Girl, 1754, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresde, Germany.
Jan Misset, Drostess Cacao, 1904, source: Wikimedia.

Fashion for the Fashionable

Raimundo Madrazo, Hot Chocolate, mid-19th C, private collection.

With the passage of time and the rise of trade, chocolate production sped up and further spread across Europe. Not only did the higher classes drink it but the bourgeoisie could afford it as well.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, The Cup of Chocolate, 1878, private collection.

Food for the Soldiers

Marcel Duchamp, Chocolate Grinder, 1904, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, US.

The Industrial Revolution even further industrialized the production of chocolate. As a result, during WWI food rations for soldiers contained chocolate bars for breakfast. Thus history came full circle: from the breakfast of kings, to the breakfast of soldiers; from food of the gods, to food of the warriors.

Magda, art historian and Italianist, she writes about art because she cannot make it herself. She loves committed and political artists like Ai Weiwei or the Futurists; like Joseph Beuys she believes that art can change us and we can change the world.

Comments

More in Food

  • Art Forms

    The Charm of Colorful and Shiny Italian Maiolica Ceramic Wares

    By

    Maiolica ceramic wares are exquisitely decorated and vibrantly colored handmade artworks made popular during the Italian Renaissance. Their timeless beauty has inspired artists and fascinated art collectors throughout the ages. The Maiolica technique illuminated ceramics that reflected the elegance of an era and continue to dazzle...

  • 21st century

    London Mall Galleries: An Interview on Covid-19 and Reopening

    By

    The evening of the 4th January united the residents of the UK once again. Everyone’s attention was focused on the third national lockdown announcement that came from the prime minister. With the order of stay-at-home, art galleries once again had to close their physical spaces where...

  • Arenig School Arenig School

    20th century

    Arenig School. Wild Bohemians and Welsh Mountains

    By

    Welcome to a rollicking adventure with the Arenig School of automatic painting starring Augustus John, James Dickson Innes, and Derwent Lees. Arenig Fawr is a majestic mountain in Snowdonia in Wales. Between 1911 and 1913 three unconventional artists lived and breathed the wild landscape here, possessed...

  • H, Dog, acrylic on canvas, 1993 H, Dog, acrylic on canvas, 1993

    dailyart

    What I Found in the Museum Of Bad Art

    By

    MOBA, or the Museum Of Bad Art, is replete with almost anything that could be wished for in terms of the good, the bad, the very bad, the hilarious, and of course the ugly. The category of ‘good’ doesn’t really exist here – that much will...

  • Ancient Greece

    Portrayal of an Abandoned Hero: Philoctetes

    By

    How would you feel if your friends abandoned you on an uninhabited island with a limited amount of food and no shelter just because you were injured? An island where wild animals lurk at night. The only things you have are a bow, ripped old clothes,...

To Top