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Living Paintings

What’s Cooking?

Suitable for: Book Clubs

Daily life in the kitchen isn’t always about being a domestic goddess, making cupcakes and the latest culinary gadgets. These paintings take us back in time and give us a chance to explore the kitchen-sink dramas of a different age. Velazquez was a court painter – so what’s he doing in the kitchen? And what’s on the scullery maid’s mind as she goes about her chores? Enjoy the sizzling eggs and the copper pans!

Listen to an audio clip

We are going to meet some very ordinary people, from two different periods of history, going about their everyday lives in the kitchen. Then, as now, people got a kick out of seeing the articles of their daily life painted in every detail, and both Velazquez and Chardin liked to include people in their still lifes. In these two paintings the artists have chosen to depict common things. Nowadays we love paintings of gritty, everyday life, we take it for granted that everything is worthy of art, and that the truth can be unpleasant.
But to Velazquez and Chardin's contemporaries their choice of subject matter would have been a pointed statement. After exploring the paintings you might want to consider what you think the artists are saying.

What's inside

  • 10 copies of two or three raised tactile images.
  • Audio descriptions with music and sound effects in your chosen format of either CD or USB.
  • Coloured picture book of the raised images. Guidance Notes to help you make the most of using this book.
  • An ‘Articles for the Blind’ returns label for the free and convenient return of the box.

Touch to see image list

An Old Woman Cooking Eggs by Diego de Velazquez
The Scullery Maid by Jean Simeon Chardin

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