Why Food-Themed Art Isn’t Just for the Kitchen


An art museum is typically a quiet place, where people speak in hushed tones while admiring the masterpieces. But wait, what’s that sound? Oh, that’s just your stomach growling.  Why? Because so many of the paintings are mouthwatering depictions of yummy food. (Quick! To the snack bar!)

French Macarons by Incado

Just one look at this stack of delicate pastel macarons says “sweet”. Our nostrils quiver, searching the air for the exquisite perfume of ground almonds, and we lick our lips remembering the mouth-feel of the thin, glazed shell that crushes easily under the tongue, followed by the gloss of a sticky jam center.

It’s not just your vivid imagination. Great chefs make the observation that “we eat with our eyes.” Beautiful-looking food sharpens our appetite, and just seeing a photo of something delicious lights up the pleasure-centers of our brain, releasing feel-good neurochemicals including dopamine and oxytocin. Pictures of food tap into memories of great meals with great friends, family and loved ones. And food art doesn’t merely make our mouths water. These images also trigger a flood of warm feelings of togetherness, nurturing and celebration. Human companionship is as important as the food itself; remember that our word “companion” means “with whom I share my bread.”

And by the way, there’s no law that says these luscious images must stay in the kitchen. Fine Art Canvas is so versatile that you can switch and swap your décor in literally minutes, to change with the seasons, the occasion, or whatever strikes your fancy.

Art For Fine Dining

    Historic food paintings are a classic touch for a dining area, especially if your room décor is semi-formal or formal.  A dining room typically provides a suitable setting for Large Canvas Wall Art, versus Small Canvas Prints that work in an average-sized kitchen.

    In ancient Greece and Rome, paintings of fruit and other foods served as a status symbol, telegraphing the wealth of the homeowner. Later, during the Renaissance, Dutch masters painted highly realistic works of expensive, exotic foods, where fish, shellfish, rabbits, game birds, flowers and fruit were often heaped on sumptuous velvets and brocades, positioned among rare and exquisite art objects. The velvety-rich palette conveys a sense of luxury and leisure, perfect for elegant holiday meals served to lucky guests.

    Oysters 1862 by Edouard Manet

    Manet’s slightly stylized, Impressionistic oysters look plump, fresh, and even a little bit sexy. Oh-la-la!

    Still Life with Fruit and Carafe, c. 1610/1620 by Pensionante del Saraceni

    A classic Renaissance still-life against a nearly-black background is voluptuous and sensual, contrasting the hard, gleaming contour of a glass wine carafe with the invitingly fleshy textures of ripe, cut fruit.

    Pear With Red Wine by DP Gallery

    This modern approach to the still life is relaxed yet sophisticated, with a bit of bohemian flair.

    NYC Bread Shop by Vintage Images

    Photography is another option for your dining room art. The dark background adds a sense of drama. This image reinforces the comfort-aspect of food, symbolized by the warm, fragrant artisanal bread carried out into the drizzle of a New York City winter. Here, the bread is as much a shield against the chill as the bright red umbrella.


    Smokin Bar-B-Que by Gregg DeGroat

    In this modern watercolor that would work in many different spots throughout your home, the artist depicts a bleak winter day in the heart of the city, where a spicy, smokin’ Bar-B-Que joint offers welcome warmth to bundled-up pedestrians.

    Nighthawks by Edward Hopper

    An iconic example of Large Canvas Wall Art like Edward Hopper’s 1947 Nighthawks, communicates much more than mere mealtime. This moody masterpiece perfectly captures the noir quality of the post-war art scene. Yet even in the bleak late-night setting of the diner, human companionship and late-night cups of joe emerge as a respite from deep loneliness.

    Kitchen-friendly Art

      Whenever you host a dinner, guests invariably congregate around the stove and sink, even though the party’s in the next room. We say, why fight it? An appetizing selection of Canvas Prints can make the most of the room that’s the heart of every home: the kitchen.

      Classical food paintings often employ a deeply colored background, which may feel too dark for your kitchen. Popular food-themed Canvas Art Prints for the kitchen often use lots of clean white space and bright colors to communicate the joy of cooking—and eating! While your dining room walls may invite the elegance of Large Canvas Wall Art, smaller, more casual Canvas Art often fits best in the kitchen, where space is at a premium. The mood is high-energy, often using a light-colored or white background for a fresh feel, especially under bright task lighting often found in kitchens. This contrasts the heavier, darker, more subdued dining room art that invites savoring, lingering, and second helpings.

      Wholesome motifs inspired by Americana and mid-century vintage lettering are extremely popular when decorating a kitchen. References to a bygone era strike a comforting, reassuring note. Depictions of favorite prepared foods, as well as kitchen tools and implements, give a relaxed, rusticated vibe.

      Always Look On The Sunny Side by Sd Graphics Studio

      There’s an undeniable appeal to breakfast foods, perhaps because they symbolize new beginnings and a fresh start every day. And, we’re extremely happy to know that eggs, once blacklisted as an enemy of heart-health, are now considered a good, safe protein source for many people, when eaten in moderation. This cheery Canvas Art Print pairs hand-lettered text and a flat, graphic depiction of a fried egg to send a message of early-to-rise optimism.

      Sunrise With Breakfast by Atelier Posters

      And one good egg deserves another. The intense, saturated colors and flat aspect of this supergraphic could transform just about anyone into a morning person! Consider selecting a unifying theme for your kitchen Canvas Art Prints. No need to match pieces by the same artist; just use the “Search” feature on our site to locate topics. Eggs are a great one for the kitchen, as are coffee, donuts, or maybe unicorns – after all, it’s your kitchen.


      Really Big Deli Sandwich by Vintage Images

      With props to Dagwood, this shot of a truly over-the-top sandwich will hit the spot with anyone who craves a basic, all-American flavor-fest. Images of favorite foods are perfect for hit-and-run kitchens, where food is snapped up on the go and it’s always game night. In some circles, this style of photography is gleefully called “food porn” – but we feel no need for censorship.

      Because our link with the food experience is so primal, you may find yourself gravitating to old-timey images, even if you’ve never set foot on a farm. Lettering styles of the 1920s, 30s and 40s, along with heirloom and homespun motifs, bring out the country cousin in even the most citified cook.

      Red Food Metal Sign by DP Gallery

      Says it all. The vintage vibe of an old roadside café sign instantly creates a homey and nostalgic look for a busy kitchen.

      Farm Kitchen II by Pam Britton

      Friendly farmhouse art creates a feeling of familiarity, with kitchen towels made from washed flour sacks, rustic ginghams, distressed natural wood, and even a market-style chalkboard to announce the specials of the day.

      Silver Spicy Spoons by DP Gallery

      If your taste is more high-rise than hoe-down, perhaps you find your sweet spot with photographic images of culinary works in progress, like these spicy spoons.

      Tip: a slim, horizontal print looks great between counters and cabinets, making a small kitchen seem more roomy.

      Farmer’s Market Day!

        While art chosen for the dining room may depict the social side of a great meal, and kitchen Canvas Prints often will focus on the domestic arts of cooking and baking, consider creating a contemporary look that focuses on raw ingredients themselves. Great cooks everywhere agree: truly great cuisine begins with freshness and quality.

        Artwork and photographs of firm, juicy veggies and glossy, ripe fruit suggest the experience of roaming a farmer’s market or stopping at a roadside stand for local fresh-caught seafood and just-picked blackberries. A woodcut style suggests a retro seed catalog, while a high-resolution closeup is a more modern approach.

        Linen Vegetable IV v2 by Studio Mousseau

        Line-drawings of garden-fresh produce have the feel of turn-of-the-century botanical illustrations, with a modern graphic edge. The crisp black outlines make the delicate coloring pop.


        Linen Vegetable II v2 by Studio Mousseau 

        The Vegetable Seller by DP Gallery

        Human beings crave authenticity. Today, most of us are far removed from our food sources, but a piece of art can recreate the vital connection between seeds, water, soil, sun, and what lands on our dinner plates each night.

        Cherries by Alma'Ch

        Hyper-realism exaggerates the visual properties of the subject to create intense emotion. By magnifying and cropping the image, the contours of the subject become almost abstract, making this genre a natural pick for the modern kitchen. And because of the treatment of the image, even a small version of a hyper-realistic painting will have dramatic impact.

        Maryland Crabs by Panoramic Images

        A defining aspect of photographic art, versus simply a snapshot, is the manipulation of the visual depth of field. The crisp focal point is located in the center of the canvas, enhanced by allowing the areas along the edges of the visual field to remain out of focus. This contrast between softly blurred perimeters and a sharp central image creates a sense of movement and energy, emphasizing the right-from-the-bay freshness of this basket of live Maryland blue crabs.

        Red Chili Ristras by Panoramic Images

        Strong, monochromatic color (especially hot chili-pepper red) and rhythmic, repeating forms, almost in the vein of Warhol’s famous Campbell’s soup cans, can serve as an energizing element for even the smallest kitchen.

        Many factors determine what artwork will work best in your space. And of course, there are no rules. You may want brightly colored, humorous pieces everywhere in your home, or you may choose a deep-hued, meditative artwork for your kitchen.  Pardon the pun, but it’s all a matter of taste. And because Canvas Art Prints are a moveable feast, you can instantly reinvent any space just by lifting one piece of Canvas Art off its nail and replacing it with whatever suits your mood right now.  And you can do the same tomorrow!

        Bon appetit!

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