As we look forward to the end of lockdown and a return to normal life, we thought we would explore in a light-hearted way our relationship, expressed through visual art, to beverages many of us may have become over reliant on during these strange times!
Drink is a constant and contradictory theme in Western art. It has been presented in painting and sculpture as a dual magic potion, both sacred and profane, pleasurable and dangerous, enlivening and numbing. It is also seen to induce opposite states of sociability and social alienation.
Alcohol is alluded to through objects: chalices, vessels and jugs; it is displayed in glasses, tankards, barrels and hip flasks. Its presence and effects are shown through themes of redemption and classical hedonism, glowing images of bountiful living and camaraderie and of vice, sin and debauchery. The inclusion of drink in art allows for the creation of narratives, the use of symbols and the demonstration of technical virtuosity in the depiction of reflections and liquid.
To counter the privations of lockdown, Dido Powell will explore artworks from the Renaissance to the present day, focusing on themes of spirituality and wine, sensual pleasure and vice. We will delve into the ways in which absinthe played a key role in the creation of ‘modernity’ in art and how gin continues to reflect being British.