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Cake in art

April 29, 2010

Wayne Thiebaud: The only artist famous for painting cake; correct me if I’m wrong.

Yet food is a subject of so many images, the hundreds of cookbooks and food blog are testament to this. There is a picture of sausages and strawberries (don’t ask) on the wall in my kitchen; but in art, food is rarely a subject. Of course, there are traditional still lifes, Cézanne’s ‘Apples and Oranges’ comes to mind.

When I chose ‘Cakes and Sweets’ as my exam topic for AS art, there was only one reference: Wayne Thiebaud. So when I was searching for paintings of cake today there was only really one person I could search for. I’m not a big fan of Thiebaud’s work, his very American, slightly cartoony style is not something I’ve ever been drawn to.

Why is cake not a subject of art? Is it that uninteresting? Maybe in terms of art the answer is yes. The figure, landscapes, paintings can capture as aspect of these that draws the viewer in, they can capture the emotions behind them. Cake is not the same, photograph it, yes, but to draw it? I’m just not sure.

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