Three Banquets For a Queen
Gastronomy meets art in a new series, On the Table, edited by the provocative, genre-straddling Swedish writer Charlotte Birnbaum. The first publication is a new translation of a 17th-century text describing three spectacular banquets that greeted Queen Christina of Sweden when she visited Rome in 1668. Antonio degli Effetti was on the scene, and described all three feasts in their sumptuous glory, detailing the lavish preparations for the celebrations and the dining experience itself, designed by Bernini, no less! The original text, dotted with quotations from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and Virgil’s Aeneid, is placed in today’s context by a foreword and two essays by Birnbaum. Was it dinner or was it 300-year-old performance art?
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