woensdag 2 maart 2016

Cuccagna festivals

Frans Hogenberg, Sugar banquet for the wedding of John William, Duke of Julich-Cleves-Berg, and Jakobea of Baden, (1587) (Getty Research Institute)

"There were whole settings of large arches with cheese, sausages, and breads, [...] Those were made for people to take away. A lot of times, at the top there were fireworks and things like that, so it was kind of a theatrical way of showing food.” At the signal of the powerful host, citizens would rush to these arches to scarf down or carry away as much as they could. The Cuccagna festivals date back to legends of the Land of Cockaigne, a mythical paradise on Earth, where idleness leads to plenty — a theme 'that sought to distract poor and hungry people from the hardships of their daily lives, if only for a moment'"

Francesco Orilia, Cuccagna arch of bread, cheese, and suckling pigs, made in honor of Duke Antonio Alvarez di Toledo, Viceroy of Naples, on the Feast of Saint John the Baptist, 23 June 1629, 1630 (Getty Research Institute)

"The food structures that often towered over crowds at public festivals were equally extravagant. A woodcut by one Francesco Orilia depicts a Cuccagna arch, a type of freestanding monument that became prevalent especially in Naples over the course of the 18th century. Although some were varnished and painted and not intended for consumption, most had foundations of wooden scaffolding, papier-mâché, and stucco that were carefully embedded with a variety of foods."

Remondini family (Bassano), Description of the Land of Cockaigne, Where Whoever Works the Least Earns the Most, 1606 (Getty Research Institute)

"On view is one early-17th-century hand-colored etching showing such a whimsical land, where meatballs bob in lakes, chickens rain down from clouds, hills are made of sugar cakes, and Spanish wine flows as a river."
(Claire Voon, 'Sugar Castles and Suckling Pig Arches: The Edible Arrangements of Baroque Europe', 2015, Hyperallergic, dd. 29/02/2016)

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