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Setting the Table

Setting the Table

(p.1) Introduction Setting the Table
A Feast for the Eyes
Christina Normore
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines previous art historical work on feasting, which either dismisses these events and their components as merely decorative or focuses on individual banquets in isolation. It proposes to instead examine late medieval feasts through both surviving objects and representations, reading conventions as signs of expectations and desires shared by patrons, artists, and audiences. A survey of visual and verbal accounts reveals a consistent interest in portraying feasts as part of a larger historical narrative, conveying social hierarchy, and emphasizing the visual splendour of the hall at the expense of foodstuffs. Entremets, which combines human and non-human spectacle, emerge as a key category encapsulating these valued elements. The chapter concludes with an outline of the following text.

Keywords:   feast, banquet, medieval, Renaissance, Burgundy, ephemera, conventions, methodology

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