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)
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, whether great or minor masters, have always acted as commentators. Wine has been part of our social, cultural, religious, political and economic history throughout the ages. By telling its story, these artists help us better understand our own.
>> A THEMATIC TOUR: 5 PERMANENT COLLECTIONS, 31 PAINTING GALLERIES
THE VIRTUAL WINE MUSEUM'S COLLECTIONS
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 the story of wine from Antiquity to the present day.
The Virtual Wine Museum: Wine in the Arts, 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 now an internationally-recognised reference site: it has just been selected by the jury of the International Wine and Vine Organisation (OIV), who have awarded it a Special Mention in their Fine Arts category.
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.
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.
Persian Miniatures, Abstract Art, and Street Art
New exhibition with The Rubaiyat, or quatrains of Omar Khayyam (11th century) offering a counterpoint to classical Persian miniatures on display. Wine appears frequently, presented as a remedy both for the melancholy caused by the passage of time and the brevity of life. “Drink and be merry” is the refrain of these epicurean verses.
Contemporary art is the order of the day for the current exhibitions. Bertrand Sallard, an abstract painter living in Burgundy, presents variations on the “vine to wine” process, following the rhythm of the seasons.
With street art and graffiti, Bacchus and wine have taken over walls in cities worldwide. While some see graffiti as undesirable, others consider its most elaborate forms a type of art that deserves attention.
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.
What's new at The Virtual Wine Museum?
Ossip Zadkine often made reference to the cafes, particularly those of Montparnasse, that he frequented with Modigliani until the painter's death. Doubtless these included the smoky universe of La Rotonde, a regular haunt and a place where painters, musicians and poets were known to mix.
Zadkine always drew attention to his characters by making them much larger than the surrounding urban landscape. In The Guitar Player , if the pavement café in the foreground is animated by the guitarist and sitting customers, the road behind is deserted, gray and lined with identical-looking houses. The undetailed, pastel-hued figures are brought to the fore by the brighter colors of the setting.
Twitter 2019: the most popular works
The 2019 star of the Virtual Wine Museum’s Twitter account is this stained glass from Notre-Dame in Paris. Like the rest of the western rose window, it escaped the blaze. The glass depicts each month’s agricultural work associated with its zodiac sign, Virtues and Vices, the prophets and, in the centre, the Virgin Mary. Traditionally, Aries – the first fire sign – starts off the new annual cycle. Spring has just arrived and a man is pruning the vine. March is always the best month for such work. “Trim on St Aubin’s Day [1st March] and big grapes will come your way…” The depiction of vices and virtues, the star signs and the work associated with them is typical of the Middle Ages. The rose window is a colourful reflection of the stone bas-reliefs of the western façade, which used to be painted but are now bare. This image is taken from the left door, known as the Virgin’s Door..