Carrots in fine art works - part one

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Depictions of Carrots in Fine Art Works - 1

Carrots have appeared in many great artworks over the years and in fact came to their rescue when plant biologists were trying to identify old species and the only records were in paintings such as these. They have been used as evidence (erroneously!) that the Dutch developed orange rooted carrots for the first time.  Also illustrations of various carrot colours appeared in many illuminated manuscripts, some of the surviving examples are shown here - ancient manuscripts. More carrot art in the Wikigallery here.

There are more pages of Carrots in Fine Art works  -  Page 2, Page 3 & 17th century

Beautiful Van Gogh art here.  The Miscellaneous Art Page includes other works of art. 

There is no documentary evidence that the Dutch "invented" orange carrots to honour their Royal Family, the House of orange. A tale, probably apocryphal, has it that the orange carrot was bred in the Netherlands in the sixteenth century to honour William of Orange. Though the development and stabilisation of the orange carrot root does appear to date from around that period in the Netherlands, it is unlikely that honouring William of Orange had anything to do with it!

As far as The Carrot Museum is concerned the Dutch developed and stabilised the orange carrot, in the 16th century. Subsequently the Dutch people adopted the colour orange and orange carrots as their national vegetable. There is no written evidence that this was also to honour their Royal Family. The point is that the orange carrot came first, Dutch Nationalism second.

In many Dutch paintings of the period the support for the House of Orange is clearly expressed via a piece of cloth, for example you will see a ribbon around the male costume and/or an orange banner. It is also expressed via small bundles of orange (and other colours) carrots prominently displayed in the centre of paintings or more often in an obscure position, depending on the level of support for the House of Orange. 

To this day, many in the Netherlands genuinely like to believe that orange carrots were originally grown specifically as a tribute to the House of Orange. No matter how many times it is repeated and passed on through the generations it still remains pure folklore!!

Also check out the Romantic Carrots of Greg Warren, mis-shapen carrots turned into works of art, and then eaten!

Note:Most of the paintings depicted have a larger, more detailed version which can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate picture. They are obviously larger files so will take a little time to download. Please be patient - they are worth it!

 Last Supper, Stavronikita Monastery, Refectory 1546 Last Supper, Stavronikita Monastery, Refectory, Fresco by Theophanes the Cretan, Cretan School, 1546.

It's recorded in the New Testament that the Last Supper was actually a Passover meal as celebrated by all Jewish people for thousands of years - of course Jesus and his disciples were Jewish. The Passover celebration has changed little over the centuries. Still today, one important part of the evening is tasting "maror" or horseradish. The maror is one of three items emphasised by Rabbi Gamaliel in the First Century, so it is almost certain that there would have been horseradish at what today is called the Last Supper. It is therefore very likely that what look like carrots in the fresco are actually horseradish.

The Monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery at the monastic state of Mount Athos in Greece, dedicated to Saint Nicholas

Below, close up detail.


De Markt Van Rouw -  c1590 (market scene)

No detailed image available

Vegetable and Flower Market by Arnout de Muyser (detail below) Oil on canvas early 1600's.

Both paintings are located in Naples, Museo  Gallerie Nazionale di Capodimonte

Pieter Aertsen Carrots in Art

One of the earliest depictions of an orange carrot, in works of art - Pieter Aertsen Christ in the Home of Mary and Martha 1553 (oil on panel, Height: 126 cm (49.6 in). Width: 200 cm (78.7 in, location Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam). detail below

p c van rijck yellow carrots art Kitchen interior detail

Detail - Anonymous but attributed to Pieter Cornelisz van Rijck 1610 

Kitchen Interior with the Parable of the Rich Man and the Poor Lazarus

The Mousetrap, Gerrit Dou 1650

Gerrit Dou "The Mousetrap " circa 1650. (Musee Fabre)

Linen Market, Dominica (1780) Agostino Brunias (c. 1730 – April 2, 1796) was a London-based Italian painter from Rome. Strongly associated with West Indian art, he left England at the height of his career to chronicle Dominica and the neighbouring islands of the West Indies. Painted in the tradition of verite ethnographique, his art was as escapist as it was romantic.(carrots bottom right)


JAn Victirs The Greengrocer carrots 1654 detasil of jan victors The greengrocer

Left - De groentewinkel 'De Buyskool', Jan Victors, 1654 (The Greengrocer) detail above

oil on canvas, h 91,5cm × b 110cm

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


The Four Elements - Earth
1569-70 Joachim Beuckelaer 
carrot close up here
Still Life
1535-74 Joachim Beuckelaer

Gerrot Dou Young Mother 1658

Gerrit Dou (1613-1675)
Young Mother
Oil on canvas, 1658
Mauritshuis, The Hague
Gerrit Dou The Grocer's Shop 1647  Oil on wood, Musée du Louvre, Paris

Joachim Wtewael 1566-1638 The Kitchen Maid circa 1620-25 Utrecht Centraal Museum (detail below) Joachim Wtewael 1566-1638 The Vegetable seller 1618 Utrecht Centraal Museum (detail below)

Oil on wood, 36 x 27 cm

Location :Musee du Louvre, Paris
Detail of carrots (above)

Christ in the House of Mary and MarthaOil on canvas
Galleria Estense, Modena CAMPI, Vincenzo
(b. ca. 1530, Cremona, d. 1591, Cremona)

Martha is the personification of the busy housekeeper, the active type, in contrast to her contemplative sister, Mary of Bethany. She took the initiative in fetching Christ to their house when their brother Lazarus died. She is the patroness of housewives.
Broker Vrou anonymous ca 1560 now located in Rijksmuseum

Quirin Gerritz van Brekelenkam
c1640s - 1668 Family seated round a kitchen fire
Levi Wells Prentice
(1851-1935) Still Life with Cantaloupe, Tomatoes, and Carrots Oil on canvas 12 x 16 inches

Levi W Prentice - Still Life Cantaloupe, Tomatoes and Carrots

Gerrit Dou (1613-1675)The QuackOil on canvas, 1652
 Oil on canvas, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam

(detail of carrots on left)

Pieter Aertsen,
Christ and the Adulteress
1559 Oil on wood, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt
Joachim Beuckelaer,
Market Woman with Fruit, Vegetables and Poultry 1564 Oil on oak, 118 x 170,5 cm Staatliche Museen, Kassel

Christ and Adulteress Aertsen orange carrots

Market woman with fruit and vegetables Beuckelaer 1564

François Boucher 1703-70 -
Boy Holding a Carrot 1738
pastel on buff laid paper,308 x 243 mm Art Institute Chicago

Joachim Beuckelaer,
Vegetable Seller Oil on wood, Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp

Francois Boucher Boy Holding Carrot

Joachim Beuckler,
Woman Selling Vegetables Oil on canvas, Rockox House, Antwerp
Jan van Kessel,
Still-life with Vegetables Oil on canvas Civic Museum, Prato

Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez,
Peasants at the Table (El Almuerzo) c. 1620 Oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest
Frans Snyders,
Vegetable Still-Life c. 1600 Oil on canvas, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe

16th century Kitchen 16th Century Kitchen with Cook and Maid – Artist Unknown

Detail below

16th c carrots detail

There are more pages of Carrots in Fine Art works  -  Page 2, Page 3 & 17th century

The Miscellaneous Art Page includes other works of art.  Van Gogh

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