Humans Have Been Depicting Glorified Meals for 500 Years

Recent research into European and American art shows that today’s #foodporn Instagrams are nothing new

Wikimedia Commons

Behold, the predecessor to #FoodPorn.

Not everyone loves overzealous sharers of their food experiences. Starbucks baristas, for example, are deliberately ruining potential Instagram photos of trendy teens with their fancy Frappuccinos.

To all of the haters out there, simmer down: As it turns out, humans have been doing this for 500 years.

A study of 750 American and European Art pieces, ranging from the year 1500 to 2000, found that the meals most painted were decadent dishes such as shellfish and pastries. The study, run by the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, also noted that such foods did not represent a standard diet. These paintings were the predecessors to artsy photos of delicacies like sushi donuts.


Brian Wansink, lead author of the study, said “Artists have painted glorified meals based on desire instead of reality.” Take that, #foodporn critics! Those photos that you decry as the downfall of our civilization might just end up hanging in a museum one day, just like their oil-on-canvas predecessors.