Seminar: From Eye to Mouth: on Edible Images in the Renaissance


Wednesday, April 24, 2019, 6:00pm to 7:30pm


Gould Hall, I Tatti

Speaker: Jérémie Koering (Centre André Chastel)

There was a time when some images were not just looked at, but eaten as well. Produced to be swallowed, they were consumed by the mouth rather than by the eye. This presentation will focus on this particular way of experiencing images, by examining the consumption of the edible artefacts (eucharist, waffles, edible sculptures and archictures, figurative cakes) made during Renaissance, and by highlighting the anthropological and cultural stakes that inform this specific practice. As part of a logic of participation, the ingestion of the image makes it possible for the person who experiences it to enter a (religious, civic, artistic…) community or to contribute to maintaining its cohesion. Beyond their social functions, these edible images also occupied a special place in the definition of aesthetic attitudes during the Renaissance. In this presentation, it will also be question of determining the roles that these edible images may have played in the emergence of the notion of taste during the first modernity.

Jérémie Koering is a scholar at the CNRS (Centre André Chastel). He has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the French Academy in Rome (2003-2004), the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte (2009), Yale University (Focillon Fellowship, 2014) and INHA/Villa Médicis (Chastel Fellowship, 2016). His fields of study are Italian Renaissance Art, epistemology of art history, and anthropology of images. He has published several books: Le prince en représentation. Les décors du palais ducal de Mantoue au XVIe siècle (2013); Caravage, juste un détail (2018); co-edited with Stephen J. Campbell, Andrea Mantegna: Making Art History (2015); transcribed and edited an unpublished manuscript by Robert Klein, L’Esthétique de la technè. L’art selon Aristote et les théories des arts visuels au XVIe siècle (2017); co-edited with Yve-Alain Bois a special issue of October (Winter 2019) devoted to Meyer Schapiro and Hubert Damisch. Currently, he is writing two books: one on edible images (Des images que l’on mange, Actes Sud, 2019), the other on Schapiro’s drawings (Meyer Schapiro, en dessinant).