Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A primer on Gastro Obscura

As I have often stated on these pages, I am easily amused. 

Not so much with advertising, particularly in its current pedantic form of Shout, Bore and Shout again, but with new visual and writing entrees into the world of "hey look over here." (See picture above)

Last weekend, somebody, and I'm sorry if I forgot who, posted a painting from the 19th Century. This painting is now my cover photo on my Facebook page. I wasn't content to to just share this odd painting of a farmer and his oversized rectangular cow, I was intrigued by it and uncovered the lost art form of Gastro Obscura.

There are many examples of Gastro Obscura, but what I found most interesting was how it manifested itself in the 19th century. And how one could argue that it found its way to the 21st century and the phenomena of people posting pictures of their Eggs Benedict or Monte Christo sandwiches on Instagram and the like.

It's all a form of peacocking.

I could give a rat's ass -- even an oversized one -- about your picturesque Pho bowl or the artfully sculpted mound of mashed potatoes that came with your rack of lamb. But the story behind the wildly exaggerated farm animals fascinates me.

You see back in the 1800's, English landowners (I say English and not British because from what I can discern, especially looking at part of my family tree, there were no wealthy Scots or Irishmen) found it necessary to boast about their fantastic accumulation of wealth, often by exploiting or stealing from the lower classes. 

And because they were 200 years behind the times in terms of Twitter and Instagram, did not have the means to boast about their incredible riches. So they commissioned artists to paint themselves next to their exaggerated gargantuan livestock. 

"Look at the size of my Pustertaler Sprinzen!!!Jealous?"

Stupid? Yes. 

Eyecatching? Well you tell me...

Now, if you know me, and after close to 3000 posts, you probably should, you know that if I'm in for a dime I'm in for a dollar. And so, with my newfound but intensely painful freedom to decorate the house with no moderation, I plan on hunting down some replicas of these paintings and hanging them on the walls.

Would Deb approve? Hardly.

Would she be laughing from whatever dimension she is in? I like to think so.

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