“It is said that analysing pleasure, or beauty, destroys it. That is the intention of this article.”
– British film theorist Laura Mulvey, “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”
In the period between the 1300s and the 1600s, the tradition of Renaissance oil painting was in full swing. Rich colors, realistic textures, and a variety of subjects abounded on canvases throughout Italy, France, Spain, and many other European countries. Renaissance painters like Titian, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, and da Vinci were painting objects, such as fruit and jewels, as well as the people of their society and their surroundings, such as pets, children, and expensive belongings. The male painters of Renaissance art brought to the forefront in paintings (whether intentional or not) proof of the wealth of those for whom they painted. A fully-set table in a painting, no matter how garnished with spices and seasonings and sauces, could not be eaten; therefore, the purpose of the painting was to display that its owner could afford such a hearty meal and bring pleasure to the owner through this display.
Carvaggio’s Still Life with Fruit on a Stone Ledge, c. 1605-1610