From Manet to Botero, via Cezanne, Van Gogh and Matisse: coffee as a work of art!
Sometimes it must be said: “This coffee is a masterpiece!” And it’s literally true in the works of some significant painters, from the 1600s to the present day who, in their unique styles, have captured coffee drinking in still life images, from solitary breakfasts to snapshots of daily life in a busy bar.
The appearance of coffee in art coincides with its popularity in the main European cities of the 17th Century: London, Amsterdam, Paris… Only courtesans and aristocrats would afford to indulge: coffee was considered anexotic drink, a symbol of elegance and refinement, known only to the few..
In the 18th Century, coffee was still a ritual for the privileged few. In fact it was generally portrayed in scenes depicting noble families gathered in opulent surroundings.
It wasn’t until the 1800s that the coffee at last widely available and began to appear in numerous works of art. From Manet to Matisse, Cezanne to Van Gogh, coffee is depicted as an integral part of everyday life. It is portrayed in bars, in the privacy of the home to round-off a meal, and in the context of a ‘coffeebreak’.
In the art of the 20th Century, coffee remains apart of the zeitgeist: it is visible in the cubism movement, and in realism, beside to a coffee grinder, in modernist cafeterias, and even in surrealism.