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
Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
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”.
Artists, especially painters, have always acted as commentators. Vine and wine have been part of our social, cultural, religious, political and economic history throughout the ages. By telling their history, these artists help us better understand our own.
>> A THEMATIC TOUR: 5 PERMANENT COLLECTIONS, 31 PAINTING GALLERIES
While painting – canvases, frescoes and illuminations – takes centre-stage, the Virtual Wine Museum also exhibits many other art forms. It’s the museum of the “Wine of the Arts”, telling great history of vine and wine from Antiquity to the present day.
Let us suggest the following route around the museum: Wine and the Arts to whet your appetite, the Picture 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?
Wine-drinkers, Painters bear witness
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... (video: click on the icon)
THE BROTHERS CLARKE WITH OTHER GENTLEMEN TAKING WINE
Gawen Hamilton, between 1730 and 1735 - Yale University, New Haven, CT, US
A new perspective on the knowledge of wine
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 : Malraux' imaginary museum has become a virtual museum >>. The Virtual Wine Museum shares Malraux’s vision and offers a new perspective on the knowledge of wine and its history, especially social history.
The museum’s creator, Eric Beau, is a member of the UNESCO network 'Chair Culture and Traditions of Wine', Dijon. After having spent many years amidst the vines of the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy, he now lives in Bordeaux. He lectures at the University of Burgundy and in Bordeaux region.
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.'
The Virtual Wine Museum is a recognized reference site. It has been selected in 2020 by the jury of the International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV), who have awarded it a Special Mention in their Fine Arts category. The museum is also a member of the international network of partners of the UNESCO Chair on “Wine Culture and Traditions” at the University of Burgundy.
The Virtual Wine Museum is a non-profit venture. Open to all, it aims to be an international point of reference, both a historical and educational goldmine for enthusiasts and students, and an accessible, easy-to-understand site for the general public. 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.
Wines and Liqueurs / Sacks of Coal, 12 rue des Lyonnais, Paris, 5th arrondissement Eugène Atget, 1914 - MoMA, New York
THE GLASS OF WINE or A LADY DRINKING AND A GENTLEMAN Vermeer, ca. 1658-1660 - Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany
NEOLITHIC JAR RECOVERED FROM A NEOLITHIC SITE IN GEORGIA © Georgian National Museum
BLOG: Wine, Art and Museum News (Fr.)
Scientists agree that vinification was first practised in the Caucuses, since the 19th century considered the homeland of vine cultivation. Georgia has confirmed its position as the birthplace of viticulture with some new archaeological discoveries. Winegrowing originated over 8,000 years ago, almost ten decades earlier than previously thought. Before the announcement, the earliest evidence of viticulture – dating from around 5,000 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. This discovery is the earliest evidence of winemaking by humans to date.
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Exhibition Eugène Atget, Wine in 'Vieux Paris'
Eugène Atget takes us on a stroll around “Vieux Paris”. Wandering from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, we’re on the hunt for wine merchants, bars, cabarets, cafés and restaurants – like this bougnat's shop (Auvergnat living in Paris), where wines and liquors jostle firewood and sacks of coal. Atget’s obstinate desire to lay reality bare makes him the grandfather of modern photography.
Still on display: the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam accompanies our display of Persian miniatures. Wine, frequently mentioned in Khayyam’s verses, is presented as a cure for melancholy and even the elixir of life. Two other exhibitions focus on art of today. Burgundy-based abstract painter Bertrand Sallard gives us his take on the tasks of the “vine to wine” process dictated by the seasons. Meanwhile, our Street Art exhibition shows Bacchus and wine taking over the urban landscape.
Picture of the Month: An Ally to Seduction
Women drinking wine are an essential incarnation of vice in the work of Vermeer. The artist elegantly portrays the private lives of silent, timeless women in a movingly naturalistic way. He would dedicate seven of his thirty-five known works to the negative effects of wine. In this image, wine is clearly represented as an instrument of seduction. The man hopes that the wine will act as an aphrodisiac, lifting the young woman's inhibitions and laying the groundwork for more intimate pleasures. The woman has just drained the glass of wine and the man seems impatient to pour her more, almost as if he is trying to get her drunk. A musical instrument, the cittern, lies on the chair with musical notebooks. But the figure of Temperance is depicted in the stained glass window, adding to the tension in the scene. The symbol, directly in the seated woman's eye line, is intended as a warning.
DIONYSIAC ECTASY Roman sarcophagus, 2nd century, from Perga, ancient Greek city in Anatolia - Archaeological Museum, Antalya, Turkey
What's new at The Virtual Wine Museum?
This scene of ecstasy depicts satyrs and Maenads, Bacchus’ usual companions. Satyrs are ambivalent creatures, part-man and part-stag, who live out in the wild. They make up the “Dionesic procession” accompanying the god and are associated with the Maenads, who follow on behind. The latter are not priestesses, but play an important role in religion and worship. They participate in the mysteries and festivals held in honour of the god. Personifying the orgiastic spirits of nature, they dance frenetically, plunging themselves into mystic ecstasy. The Bacchantes (the Roman name for the Maenads) were said to behave like ferocious beasts.
New works, restored works and works recently reproduced in better quality
TAPESTRY OF BAYEUX, PANEL 37: "HERE THEY DRAG A CART WITH WINE AND ARMS" 1066/82 - William The Conqueror Centar, Bayeux, France
THE SILVER GOBLET Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin ca. 1728 - Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri, United States
NOTRE-DAME, SUN Albert Marquet, 1905 - Fine Arts Museum, Pau, France
STILL LIFE Nicolas de Staël, 1955 - Private collection
A VIEW OF PARIS WITH ILE DE LA CITE Jean-Baptiste Raguenet, 1763 - Getty Museum, Los Angeles
WINE BAR Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, 1913 - Brücke-Museum, Berlin, Germany
DIONYSOS' HEAD End of the 2nd century BC. ? Discovered on 29 October 2021 - Ancient city of Aizanoi, Turkey
VIEW OF THE PORT OF BORDEAUX Andre Lote, 1914 - Fine Arts Museum, Bordeaux
THE DAY AFTER Edward Munch, 1894-1895 - Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo, Norway
SUPPER PARTY Gerard can Honthorst, ca. 1619 - Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy
GLUTTONY FROM A SET OF THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS Between ca. 1550 and 1560 - The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
THE MAGICIAN (SELF-PORTRAIT WITH FOUR ARMS) René Magritte, 1952)
> Click on the icons for a closer look at the artworks
1 - MARCH, MEN PRUNING From a manuscript commissioned by Edward IV, King of England, 1478/80 - British Library, London
2022 Top Tweets: the most popular works*
Our tweets illustrated with miniatures easily take the lead. Images of miniatures and manuscripts certainly give us greater insight into life in the Middle Ages, especially in terms of the peasants’ labour over the course of the agricultural year. The iconographic theme of the calendar allows this to be depicted fully. In the 12th and 13th centuries, representations of the months featuring peasants at work figured in church décor, appearing on doorways, column heads and stained glass windows. It was also from this period that calendars began to adorn many liturgical texts. Although representations of work by month dwindled in the 14th and 15th centuries, appearing only on a few secular buildings, such images continued to decorate prayer books. By adopting pagan imagery already embedded in Greco-Roman Antiquity, the Church and its theologians gave a new sense to these scenes: that of Man, after the fall of Adam and Eve, suffering work as both a punishment and a means to redemption.
Vine cultivation boomed in the Middle Ages. The liturgical and symbolic importance of wine to the Christian world, like that of bread, gave it a choice position in the culture’s iconography. The trimming of the vines in February or March, crucial for future production, is one of the most common motifs, especially in calendars.