Oh my, just learned there’s an exhibition in London of the work of this painter, Renato Guttuso, through the 4th of April.  And who knew he illustrated Elizabeth David’s Italian Food?  This is a very fascinating look into the history and politics of that particular aesthetic matching.

In the comments 0f the original post, the brilliant Sicilian GodMother has really shared a lot of knowledge about the market painting, The Vucciria, more than I could have hoped for!  I quote her here:

“The original – which is absolutely huge – hangs in Palazzo Steri in Palermo now. A professor at Palermo University had it hidden away in his room for decades, imagine that!
The man in the yellow jumper is Renato Guttuso (the artist) himself, and the old woman in black is his wife: in the picture he showed her as much older than she really was. The three women in white, red and green dresses are all his mistress, shown from three different angles, and portrayed as much younger than she actually was. In reality she was the same age as his wife.
Guttuso lived most if his life in Rome and missed a lot of the foods you can only get in Sicily, so he had a phase of painting food along with women, his two great sensual pleasures.
This market was founded by the North African invaders of Sicily over 1,000 years ago and flourished like a chaotic souk for ten centuries. Sicilians say “it was a vucciria” the way we in English say “It was bedlam” or “It was a madhouse”.
Very recently the Vucciria has become lacklustre and quite empty, but there are other street markets in Palermo, as old as the Vucciria, which are still like this.”

Kitchen Counter Culture

A Painting, A Market, An Enticement

I’ve been a collage maker for most of my life,  have boxes and boxes of assorted materials, things I’ve collected, torn from magazines, etc. I have no idea where this is from, but I ripped it out long ago and kept it. And I love it.

I love the scene, the seafood, the eggs, the vegetables (are those cardoons in the front right?), the olives, the people, the bare light bulbs, and especially the loaded moment of the encounter that is just about to happen between the man in the yellow shirt and the woman with the bags and the nice bum.

In its day, I’d guess this would have been thought of as a market, not a farmers market or a specialist market or even, probably, an alternative to a supermarket.  It just WAS.   WHERE people bought their food.  Something to re-envision.

Wish I were there.

Where do…

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