March 10, 2019
Suggestion : Schubert, Piano Trio N° 2, op. 11, D. 929, Andante con moto (1827)
The ‘Muses’ companion’ since Antiquity, wine has been represented through many different art forms, such as literature, music and photography, as well as architecture, decorative and fine arts. Wine seems to have been a particular source of fascination for painters.
LUNCHEON OF THE BOATING PARTY (Detail)
Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), 1880-1881
The Phillips Collection, Washington DC
Wine takes centre stage in this painting by Renoir. Placed at the heart of the action, wine plays an active role and contributes to the painting’s happy, serene atmosphere. The people in the painting are shown as happy to be together and enjoying the delights of friendship. Duncan Phillips describes this work as “overflowing with contagious good humour”.
Over a quarter of the pictorial works on display (excluding illuminations) are the work of great masters (GM) including Titian, Vermeer, Goya, Manet, Cezanne, Renoir, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec... Around 40 great masters show us the roles and uses of wine: from divine and sacred wine to everyday companion, the ‘wine cycle’ from vine to port, and wine as an important element in still life.
The Virtual Wine Museum: Wine in the Arts, from Antiquity to the present day
750 ARTWORKS ARE WAITING FOR YOU >>
Let us suggest the following route around the museum: Wine and the Arts to whet your appetite, the Work of the Month to awaken your senses and the Gallery Collections to taste at your leisure or by following the guided tour below and at the bottom of the page. If you are pressed for time, why not take a quick trip around The Virtual Wine Museum’s selected highlights?
VIDEO: Wine-drinkers, Painters bear witness
12 WORKS SELECTED AND COMMENTED BY THE VIRTUAL WINE MUSEUM
THE BROTHERS CLARKE WITH OTHER GENTLEMEN TAKING WINE
Gawen Hamilton, betw. 1730 and 1735 - Yale University, New Haven, CT, US
Wine-drinkers have been portrayed by every kind of artist, and by great masters as well as more minor painters. One of these painters, Manet (who played a significant role in the representation of wine in art) believed that art should reflect life. Wine, when represented on canvas, is no exception to this rule.
Such images are documentary, journalistic: they tell us the role played by wine in all walks of life, without exceptions. Daily life, social life, drunkenness and savoir-boire. Wine has been used as a social marker in every historical era.
Contributing to the knowledge of wine history
This site was originally developed as part of a university project based around the creation of a virtual wine museum dedicated primarily to the medium of painting. The objective was to show how, and according to which themes, artists have treated wine and the vine. Like physical museums, virtual museums aim to promote culture and to make it accessible for everyone. André Malraux’s ‘imaginary museum’ or ‘the museum without walls’ (as it is often translated)* is closer than ever before, thanks to new technological formats. The Virtual Wine Museum shares Malraux’s vision. We hope to contribute to the knowledge of wine and its history.
The museum’s creator, Eric Beau, continues his research and has brought the ever-growing number of artworks with image presented from 175 in 2011 to 720 today. He is a member of the UNESCO network Chair Culture and Traditions of Wine, Dijon since 2010. After having spent many years amidst the vines of the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy, he now lives in Bordeaux.
THE GREEN VINEYARD
Vincent Van Gogh, 1888 - Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, The Netherlands
Georges-Henri Riviere, founder and creator of the Beaune Wine Museum and the National Museum of Folk Art and Tradition, liked to say that “the importance of a museum cannot be measured in terms of visitor numbers, but by the number of visitors who have learned something there.” Not to mention the number of visitors who come back. For virtual museums, this is truer than ever. We hope that you enjoy your visit.
The Virtual Wine Museum is in accordance with the definition of a museum by ICOM (International Council of Museums): "A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment."
Picture of the Month
"... In Summer 2005, Cy Twombly immersed himself once again in Homer’s Iliad and created a cycle of eight paintings in red, color of wine and blood, to evoke the ecstasy and madness of the Roman god, treading the line between carnal pleasure and violent debauchery in his unique calligraphic style” (Le Monde). The paintings bear witness to the ‘creative drunkenness’ which can overcome artists. As has often been observed, one can draw parallels between the delirium of the creative process and that experienced by followers of Dionysus during group rituals. Cy Twombly makes free with the red paint that reminds us so much of blood and wine. Even if he makes no explicit reference to such themes, doesn’t this image bring to mind the Mystical Winepress, in which Christ is crushed like a grape, his blood and the blood of the grapes running together as one?
Wine, Art and Museum News
Georgia has confirmed its position as the birthplace of viticulture with some new archaeological discoveries. Winegrowing originated over 8000 years ago, almost ten decades earlier than previously thought. Before the announcement, the earliest evidence of viticulture – dating from around 5000 BC – had been found in Iran’s Zagros mountains.
Residue found in eight large ceramic containers had been identified as wine by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, the Georgian National Museum and the University of Toronto. Even today, certain Georgian winegrowers make wine in earthenware containers buried in the ground.
What's new at The Virtual Wine Museum?
December 14, 2018: At the end of the 19th century, helped by the abundance of cheap wine, alcoholism caused great problems for the poorest in society, in Belgium as in France. From the very start of his painting career, Eugène Laermans demonstrated a realism that was both social and humanitarian; his compositions frequently focused on workers and peasants. Here, he illustrates alcoholism, which was a theme also treated by other Belgian painters of the period (such as Henry de Groux and James Ensor). The first victims of this drunkard are his wife and children (as in Greuze’s ‘Drunken Cobbler). The scene takes place in winter, and the family is shown in the foreground. Behind them, on the other bank of the river, we can see smoking factory chimneys. The drunkard, almost unconscious, walks mechanically, supported by his wife. She is thin, her eyes tired and resignation visible in her expression; the couple’s young daughter, her face older than her years, watches the terrible display. This addiction, this “second nature”, evokes Aesop’s fable of “the woman and the drunkard”.
Twitter 2018: the most popular works*
A record for this illumination published on Twitter by the French and English versions of the Museum. Illuminations were very popular during the Middle Ages. Done by hand, illuminations decorated or illustrated texts, usually on handwritten manuscripts. Until the 12th century, manuscripts were copied out in religious settings, such as abbeys, where they were used to support prayer and meditation. From the 13th century, private artisans began to produce literature for the secular market. This was due to the greater literacy that had resulted from the growing university and administrative sectors. Illuminations can give us a lot of information on the history and place of wine in Medieval society. Once more, painting plays a documentary role. The world of wine is portrayed in illuminations in much the same way as in frescoes and paintings.