Theatre of flavours and pleasures, conviviality and values, the table directs objects and actors as well as rituals which vary depending on the century and the dwelling in which the meal is served.

The Art of the Table, from Ancient Rome to today

At the château of Suze-la-Rousse, an archaeologist, an artist, two art historians, and culinary designers have been invited to create a table representative of a given period from Ancient Rome to today. Each has recreated or invented a table, chosen the setting, the furniture, the tableware whilst highlighting the rituals around meals. Table manners thus emerge, all as peculiar as one another, the pleasure of the performance is showing through: "The table is a stage, whatever the place, the conditions, whatever the period and the quality of the meal being served: one talks, one tastes, one eats there. The body is in action, an actor. The stage design is singular. The acting also. The emotion, the passions, the feelings are all there" (1).  

Based on private and public collections, antique objects and contemporary creations, this exhibition examines the way of living and behaving in society in past and present times.

(1) Michel Onfray, La Raison gourmande, Grasset/Figures, 1995

For further information on the event, see below in French.

Through the various rooms

  • Through the various rooms of the seigniorial abode, the tables and their sets are in place:

    West apartment side, archaeologist David Djaoui has devoted himself to the three meals of the day – jentaculum, prandium, cena – and to the preparation of food in Ancient Rome.

    In the great hall, art historian David Brouzet has set apart two worlds of the medieval period, one around a working-class and monastic meal, the other around a feudal lord's individual meal.

    Amidst the decorative plasterwork of the dining room, Jacqueline Irrmann-Queneau, art-of-the-table historian, has laid the table for an eighteenth-century supper, a century when the new art of living combined with lightness and privacy.

    As to the artist Andrea Mastrovito who is exhibiting at the Contemporary Art Centre of the Adhémars' Château in Montélimar (2), he has installed three tables in the centre of the octagonal lounge, each a symbol of a period in history, whilst referring to the American soldiers' food rations of the Second World War.

    Along the passageway of the grand staircase, a series entitled Twenty-first-century Dinner Moments can be found, series imagined by the students of the culinary design workshop from the École supérieure d’art et de design of Reims, supervised by Marc Bretillot, a teacher and culinary designer. They have turned the traditional meal practices on their head and question today's consumption modes.

    To echo the exhibition, Jacqueline Irrmann-Queneau has recreated a nineteenth-century table at the château of Grignan, in the antechamber with the neoclassical decoration, combining both harmony and symmetry, a historical reference and middle-class taste which was to lead to the "Russian service" and to the golden era of French gastronomy.

    (2) Andréa Mastrovito's exhibition N’importe où hors du monde ("Anywhere out of the World") is spread over the three departmental châteaux: Suze-la-Rousse, Grignan and Montélimar where a monographic exhibition is devoted to him.

A laid table at the beginning of the 19th century.

A laid table at the beginning of the 19th century: the taste of an imaginary supper.
In connection with the exhibition entitled Arts et manières de table ("The Art of the Table") at the château of Suze-la-Rousse, a table from the beginning of the 19th century has been laid in the neoclassical antechamber of the château of Grignan. Invited to imagine this decor of elegance, Art historian Jacqueline Queneau has created an arrangement based on a collection gathered with passion by her and her husband Philippe Irrmann: fine earthenware, glassware, silverware and decorative objects.

A laid table at the beginning of the 19th century.

What else to see

  • Meeting | Concert
  • Rencontres of Suze-la-Rousse, 3rd edition
  • Variations around the table
  • SAT 28 NOV 2016
  • Suze-la-Rousse

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  • Exhibition
  • Whirlwindsong
  • Cécile Le Talec
  • 17 OCT 2015 > 28 FEB 2016
  • Montélimar

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