food, history and art – some ruminations by Fredrika Jacobs

Pulcinella… who?


Identifiable by his flowing, white pantaloons and shirt, black mask, and beak-like nose, Pulcinella was by the 17th century a stock character in the popular theater of Naples. As an 18th century print by Pier Leone Ghezzi shows, he was also closely associated with food, or rather, its absence. Ghezzi represented him surrounded by his famished brood. Others showed him devouring pasta, which, being made of wheat flour and water, was the simplest and cheapest of fare, or despondent, his pasta bowl (and stomach) empty. Today, Pulcinella would have less to lament. The Encyclopedia of Pasta lists no less than 310 types of pasta noodles over which a wide variety of sauces made with an amazing array of ingredients can be poured. Here’s to exploring variety!


Author: Pulcinella Pasta

Fredrika Jacobs, professor emerita of Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University, is the author of three books focused on the art and culture of Renaissance Italy ("Defining the Renaissance Virtuosa: Women Artists and the language of art history and criticism" (1997/99); "The Living Image in the Renaissance" (2005); and "Votive Panels and Popular Piety in Early Modern Italy" (2013). Additionally, she has contributed essays and articles to dozens of books and scholarly journals and spoken at symposia and conferences around the world.

2 thoughts on “Pulcinella… who?

  1. I look forward to witty and wise words on food, travel and art? Or food as art? In any event, I am sure that this will be a “tasty” blog. Welcome.

  2. Please keep me in the loop; this is great! Miss you! Lynn Slabaugh

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