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'Foodporn' predates Instagram by at least 500 years - Futurity

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All the food images that your foodie friends post on Instagram might have seemed familiar to Renaissance master painters.

Researchers analyzed the contents of 500 years of European and American food paintings. Their findings suggest our obsession with looking at tasty, exotic food isn’t just a social media fad.

The researchers found indulgent, rare, and exotic foods were historically popular in paintings despite being foods not readily available to the average family living at that time.

“Our love affair with visually appealing, decadent or status foods is nothing new,” says Andrew Weislogel, curator of earlier European and American art at Cornell University’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. “It was already well established 500 years ago.”


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Opened in 1973, the Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University in Ithaca is home to one of the finest collections of ancient and modern art in Upstate New York. Designed by noted architect I.M. Pei, the building, a work of art itself, won the prestigious American Institute of Architects Honor award in 1975.

The museum’s collection includes over 35,000 works or art that span nearly six millennia of art history from around the world. A variety of exhibitions are held throughout the year. “Cosmos,” an ongoing computer controlled installation in the ceiling of the Mallin Sculpture Court, is a dazzling display of light imagery visible day and night. Created by artist Leo Villareal, and containing 12,000-lights, “Cosmos” is an homage to the late Cornell astronomy professor Carl Saga. 

A visit to the Johnson Museum of Art, with its vast art collections and spectacular view of Cayuga Lake, creates a truly memorable experience. The museum is open to all, free of charge, and is another essential stop on New York’s Path Through History.