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“The kitchen between necessity and art”

June 18, 2020 - September 30, 2020

The Brukenthal National Museum and Făgăraș County Museum “Valer Literat” come to the attention of the visitors with an exhibition of national scope with gastronomic themes.

The exhibition “The kitchen between necessity and art”, open between 18th of June and 30th of September 2020, proposes a typological presentation of the plates used in the kitchen at the end of the 17th century and the 19th century, starting from two aspects – necessity (represented in the exhibition by the base metal dishes) and art (represented in the exhibition by the precious metal dishes). Furthermore, the exhibition will include materials to present the evolution of kitchen utensils in the Baroque and post-Baroque periods.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, European society witnessed unprecedented transformations regarding food preparation and meal protocol. Among all these, there was a drastic change in culinary taste (determined by the exuberant creativity of the French chefs) and a new protocol named service à la Française (arranging the table in the French way) which has been quickly adopted by European courts, replaced in the 19th century by service a la russe.

The process of food preparation has changed, flat-bottomed pans replacing the pots which were hanged above the fire. In the 18th century, the tinsmiths and the blacksmiths made a remarkable range of pans and griddles available to domestic and professional chefs, besides an almost infinite range of shapes for creating the most decorative dishes ever presented.

The products of the craftsmen from Sibiu satisfied the needs of the local population and some of the requests received from the Romanian Countries. Besides the orders received by the goldsmith artisans from Sibiu for the cult objects, the requests for the execution of profane objects must have been more and more numerous. The products of the coppersmith artisans had a large prevalence, being used (pots, mugs, sweet bread shapes, nuts), in the household, as cult objects, etc. Another category of objects presented in the exhibition are tin vessels, varying in terms of typology and frequently found in the patrician houses from Sibiu and not only. Through ornaments and shape, they attest to the evolution of this craft over three centuries, going through all the styles from Renaissance to Baroque and Rococo.

The significant number of exhibits in the collection of the Brukenthal National Museum was the basis for organizing this exhibition, illustrating the diversity of dishes and utensils typology from the 17th and 19th centuries, emphasizing the mastery of the craftsmen guild from Sibiu.