Our conference image

The image chosen for ‘Food in history’ is Pieter Breugel the Elder’s ‘The Fight between Carnival and Lent’ (1559). It marks the moment when the community passed from a period of relative plenty to the forced abstinence of Lent (Church figures are prominent in the painting). Cadaverous Lent on the right will soon overcome the portly figure of Carnival, who is seated on a large barrel to the left.

The resonance of the image for our conference is clear: the story of food is primarily one of dearth and surplus, famine and feast, and the struggle to move from the former state to the latter. The rich symbolism of the picture is discussed in more detail in a Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fight_Between_Carnival_and_Lent.