Painters in Spains golden age captured the poverty of the table with their stark leitmotifs of hunger. Juan sanchez Cotans Still life with quince, cabbage, melon and cucumber , painted in about 1600, is a spare minimilist still life that could pass as a contemporary painting. A quince and cabbage are suspended in the midair with strings while the melon and cucumber law on a windoe ledge. This is all there is to the painting: food as objects to be desired, not actually eaten.

The Arabs, in AD 7...
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