Saturday in the Museum with Peter

Image: Peter Wtewael, “Kitchen Scene” (1620s). Oil on canvas.

For our Saturday postings, we like to turn from the world of dining to the world of art – especially art that uses food as a subject.  We have been doing a deep dive on still life painting this year and today’s post continues that theme.  The painter Peter Wtewael did a number of religious paintings, but this one is more secular, unless one considers the thoughts the two figures might have to confess.

The kitchen scene captures the days before no-contact delivery when flirting could be done at close range and it was easy to find a chicken in the market.  Wtewael was a painter in Utrecht who lived from 1596 to 1660.  His father and his brother were also artists.

This painting is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Here is its description:

“Typical of Dutch genre paintings from the first half of the seventeenth century, Wtewael’s kitchen scene abounds in visual jokes of a frankly erotic nature, such as the prominent display of meat on a skewer. The grins of housemaid and errand boy indicate their enjoyment of one another’s company, while the lavishly depicted foodstuffs surrounding them allude to the pleasures of the flesh. Such combinations of risqué humor with abundant still life elements had deep roots in Netherlandish painting.”


Most weeks the Saturday art posting is a break from working on our dining guide and posting reviews of restaurants in Washington, D.C.  That work is obviously on hold for the time being.  What we have been doing this week is keeping track of ways to help the restaurant world that was hit disproportionately by this health crisis.  We continue to use the analogy that they drew the short straw of shutting down to save us.  So, we owe them something in return.  If you agree, we have a list of ways to help laid-off employees with links to various efforts.  We also have a list of D.C. restaurants with links to gift card options and who is doing Take-out/Delivery.

For updates to both those lists, please follow us on social media.  We are on FB, Insta, and Twitter.  Click on the icons at the top or bottom of this page.  Hopefully, in a couple months we can go back to celebrating restaurants instead of trying to save them.