Fine ‘wine art’ traces roots

“The Last Supper (ca. 1365)”, tempera on panel, Niccolò di Tommaso (Florentine), Yale University Art Gallery.

     (AAPNW-NY) –  How fitting are words by Edward Fitzgerald, an English poet (1809-1883):  “A book of verses underneath the bough, a jug of wine, a loaf of bread-and thou,” when it comes to a forthcoming exhibit at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, “Wine and Spirit: Rituals, Remedies and Revelry,” opening Sunday, January 30. A show of more than 100 works explores the not only the fine art use, but also the abuse of wine.

“A Drinker with a Flask”, oil on canvas, Théodor Rombouts (Flemish, 1597–1637) Whitfield Fine Art, London.

     From as far back as the Biblical days, the history of wine production can also be linked to the Early Bronze Age, where Near East civilizations domesticated the grapevine as well as their styles of food preparation and ways of growing techniques. Regardless of where it all started, wine has played a major role throughout the centuries in all types of ceremonies, including a symbol for humanity and its causes.

     This traveling exhibition, which will be on view through April 10, was organized by the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, features a Neolithic wine jar dated 5400-5000 BCE; 17th-century Dutch masters’ works are alongside prints, drawings and photos by artists like, Honoré Daumier and Pablo Picasso, including a 2009 work by New York artist Leonard Porter; and Greek vases, Roman glassware, Renaissance vessels, rare books and manuscripts.

“Puzzle Jug with Philyra and Saturn in the Form of a Horse”, tin-glazed earthenware, Italian, late 16th–early 17th c.), Philadelphia Museum of Art.

     Goers will find the show is themed in various settings from the grape harvest to early Vessels, including images of the wine god Dionysus/Bacchus; the ancient Greek symposium; Silenus and drunkenness; wine and Christianity; wit and wine; allegory and morality; wine as erotic stimulus; beer, wine and social class; sacred and profane feasting; and wine and medicine.

     In addition on the day of public opening at 2:00 pm, John Varriano, who is a professor emeritus of art history at Mount Holyoke College and the exhibit’s curator, as well as author of “Wine: A Cultural History” will give an illustrated talk titled, “Wine, Life and Death.”

     Other upcoming events scheduled is on Thursday, February 3 at 7:00 pm with a lecture by Dr. David Goldfarb on wine and aging; Wednesday, February 9, 4:30 pm: “Especially for Educators”; Sunday, March 13, 2 pm: “Wine in Ancient Times” historical tasting; and on Thursday, March 31 at 7:00 pm, Patrick McGovern gives a lecture on the origins of wine.

“Still-life with Roemer”, oil on panel. Pieter Claesz. (Dutch, 1597/98–1660) Private collection.

     For more information in detail and events requiring reservations, call 585.276.8900 or see

Published by on January 2011. Filed under Archives, Art-to-Art Marketplace Guide, At the Centers dept, PaletteBoards Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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