Note: We’ve been informed that these lectures won’t be taking place as Prof. Variana is unable to come over to Malta for now. We’ll keep you posted when they’re rescheduled.
Not all culture comes at a price as February’s series of free lectures at Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum in Mdina proves. What’s more, these particular talks have an added bonus – they come complete with free tastings of wine, Renaissance cookbook-inspired foods and extra virgin locally pressed olive oils.
What an enlightened trio of cultural pursuits. The lectures are a winning formula for getting us to appreciate an historic venue and learn something new, and also an ingenious way of the museum marrying its collection with some complementary, lively events.
The Food, Wine & Art lecture programme
Palazzo Falson has invited a visiting art historian, Prof. John Varriano, to give two, two-hour lectures on food, wine & art, each one covering two distinct themes. The sessions (including tastings) are completely free of charge, but booking is essential to secure a place (and we advise you book fast as seats are limited). To book, tel: +356 2145 4512 or +356 2145 1021, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday 12th February (1400-1600hrs):
1. “Wine and Health, Wine and Death” first discusses the presumed therapeutic benefits of wine as brought down to us through the ages, and goes on to examine its changing metaphorical associations with memento mori, or images of death, in ancient and Early Modern times.
Wine Tasting & sampling of food inspired by Renaissance cookbooks (researched and prepared by Matty Cremona). Sponsored by Marsovin and Wardija Extra Virgin.
2. “Erotic Appetites” focuses on paintings of food that embody two genres of Renaissance allusion, the first exploiting the sexually suggestive shapes of certain fruits and vegetables, and the second linking the eating habits of the different social classes to stereotypical notions of sexuality and procreative success.
Saturday 20th February (1030-1230hrs):
1. “Eggs, Butter, Lard, and Oil” traces the evolution of the binders used in Renaissance art and cuisine, noting the importance of oil in particular for the signature characteristics of both cultural expressions.
Oil Tasting & sampling of food inspired by Renaissance cookbooks (researched and prepared by Matty Cremona). Sponsored by Wardija Extra Virgin and Marsovin.
2. “Edible Art” introduces the art of trionfi da tavola, edible table decorations that routinely embellished Renaissance and Baroque banquets.
Prof. John Varriano taught Art History at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts from 1970, until his retirement in June, 2009. He is a specialist in the art of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque periods in Italy, and the author of five books and more than four dozen articles. His latest interests combine the history of art with the history of gastronomy.