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Historical Figures

The Academia Barilla Menu Collection contains a group of menus from events celebrating important political, literary and artistic figures. These menus are particularly interesting for both their graphics and culinary content. The great variety in regional Italian cooking is highlighted in these menus because each area of Italy has its own specialties. The traditional menus are based on the best each region has to offer. In this section, you will certainly find menus illustrated by Italian painters, well known and respected in their time.

May 20, 1893 – London, England: lunch May 20, 1893 – London, England: lunch May 20, 1893 – London, England: lunch

May 20, 1893 – London, England: lunch

Lunch in honor of Mr. Rolla Written in French – International Cuisine 2 pages with a protective sheet of silk, letterpress printed on fabric applied to lithograph paper, some handwritten text, Italian cockade attached to the silk

The menu features very elegant dishes, written by the book. The wines are listed in the right hand column. It is a rare and very fine menu.

[Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library - Italy – Historical Figures: Musicians].
COLLOC. A.43.01 – INV. 3516.

May 23, 1895 – Rome, Italy, Teatro Argentina: lunch

May 23, 1895 – Rome, Italy, Teatro Argentina: lunch

Banquet hosted by the electorates of the IV college of Rome in S. E. Francesco Crispi Written in Italian – Italian Cuisine 1 page, color chromolithograph print, Stab. C. Virano e C., Rome

This menu is rich in symbolism. The images of the Roman she-wolf and the SPQR motto represent Rome. The Trinacria of Sicily symbolizes the homeland of Francesco Crispi (1819–1901), the medallion represents Italy and the laurel stands for victory. This highly decorative menu is faithful to the trends of the time.

[Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library - Italy – Historical Figures: Statesmen].
COLLOC. A.41.01 – INV. 2472.

April 9, 1905 – Rome, Italy: lunch April 9, 1905 – Rome, Italy: lunch April 9, 1905 – Rome, Italy: lunch

April 9, 1905 – Rome, Italy: lunch

Banquet in honor of Pietro Mascagni, offered to Roman citizens Written in Roman Italian – Italian Cuisine 4 pages, letterpress, Tipografia Romana, Bracciano

This appetizing musical program, listed in a playful way, includes a sonnet in Roman dialect dedicated to Pietro Mascagi, the director of the national School of Music of Rome. The menu was published thanks to the magazine, “Il messaggero della cucina,” lead by Adolfo Giaquinto and illustrated in the art nouveau style. On the fourth page of the sleeve of this culinary publication, it reads: Chi apprezza la buona musica apprezza anche la buona cucina, or “One who appreciates good music also appreciates good food.”

[Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library - Italy – Historical Figures: Musicians].
COLLOC. A.43.02 – INV. 2482.

April 26, 1908 – Venice, Italy: lunch April 26, 1908 – Venice, Italy: lunch April 26, 1908 – Venice, Italy: lunch April 26, 1908 – Venice, Italy: lunch April 26, 1908 – Venice, Italy: lunch

April 26, 1908 – Venice, Italy: lunch

Lunch in honor of Gabriele d'Annunzio Written in Italian – Italian Cuisine 8 pages (heavy stock, folded in two, with paper inserts, also folded and with a red cord), letterpress, 6 woodcuts, 2 of which are printed with two colors, Laboratorio Zanetti, Venice

This is a precious book-like menu, decorated with numerous woodcut illustrations, two of which were executed with two woods. The menu comes from a lunch given by the City of Venice for the poet Gabriele d'Annunzio (1863–1938). The lunch was held in honor of the performance of d’Annunzio’s tragedy, La Nave at the Teatro la Fenice during the celebration of San Marco. The performance was accompanied by music composed by Ildebrando Pizzetti (1880–1968), a composer from Parma and was a huge success both in Venice and beyond. On May 15th, it finally arrived at the Teatro alla Pergola in Florence. The beautiful woodcuts that illustrate the menu are the work of Gorgon Tanozzi (XIX–XX sec.), a woodcutter and artist active in Venice in the Twenties and Thirties. Tanozzi was also designed posters for events held throughout the city and art deco style advertisements. In 1915, the printing house Zanetti published L'armata d'Italia, by Gabriele d'Annunzio, also illustrated by Tanozzi, presumably thanks to their introduction at this Venetian banquet.
There is another menu in the Academia Barilla Menu Collection tied to d'Annunzio. The other menu is from October 19, 1919 and was signed by the author.

[Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library - Italy – Historical Figures: Writers].
COLLOC. A.42.01 – INV. 1918.

February 17, 1909 – Milan, Italy, Casa Stoppani (?): lunch

February 17, 1909 – Milan, Italy, Casa Stoppani (?): lunch

Homemade tagliatelle. Family banquet (possibly a wedding party?) Written in Italian – Italian Cuisine 1 page, lithograph print, illustration by Antonio Rubino

This rare and interesting menu is decorated with entertaining illustrations for children. Antonio Rubino (1880–1964) was a famous illustrator of children’s books. His work appeared in the “Corriere dei Piccoli” since 1909 and in many other publications, including the Aesop’s tales. For this menu, he used a art nouveau style to illustrate a sort of theater, outlined by festoons of tagliatelle ready to be eaten with a fork. There are two figures, one male and the other female, that lead one to imagine that menu was created for a wedding day luncheon. Also in the notes, there is mention of culinary “gifts,” possibly leading one to the same conclusion.

[Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library - Italy – Historical Figures: Illustrators and Painters].
COLLOC. A.45.01 – INV. 1825.

April 14, 1973 – San Polo d'Enza (RE), Italy, Hotel Papillon: lunch April 14, 1973 – San Polo d'Enza (RE), Italy, Hotel Papillon: lunch April 14, 1973 – San Polo d'Enza (RE), Italy, Hotel Papillon: lunch

April 14, 1973 – San Polo d'Enza (RE), Italy, Hotel Papillon: lunch

Lunch in honor of Alberto Manfredi Written in Italian – Italian Cuisine 4 pages, letterpress, illustrated by Alberto Manfredi and signed in pencil

This traditional menu includes dished and products typically found in the area of Emila Romagna depicted in the illustration. The menu also contains the signature of the Italian painter, Alberto Manfredi (1930–), who was present at the luncheon.

[Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library - Italy – Historical Figures: Illustrators and Painters].
COLLOC. A.45.11 – INV. 6310.

November 28, 1977 – Vergiate (VA), Italy Casa Baj: lunch

November 28, 1977 – Vergiate (VA), Italy Casa Baj: lunch

Family Lunch Written in Italian – Italian Cuisine 1 page, color lithograph print in 20 copies, illustration signed by Enrico Baj

This extremely rare menu contains a lithograph of one of the most famous “generals” of Baj, superimposed onto the list of dishes. The menu, created and prepared by Livio Cerini di Castegnate, is original and of the utmost quality. Enrico Baj (1924–2003), artist and author of many publications, illustrated the only 20 copies of the menu and signed this one in pencil. Baj is famous for his collages made with different materials like metals, buttons and trimmings. These everyday items are mixed into his paintings, following the ideas of Surrealism and Dadaism. His works come from an irreverent spirit of anarchy and often include grotesque characters and elements of parody.

[Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library - Italy – Historical Figures: Illustrators and Painters].
COLLOC. A.45.02 – INV. 1320.

March 21, 1979 – Milan, Italy, Ristorante Marchesi: lunch March 21, 1979 – Milan, Italy, Ristorante Marchesi: lunch

March 21, 1979 – Milan, Italy, Ristorante Marchesi: lunch

Le Diner de l'Apocalypse chez Marchesi Written in French – Italian Cuisine 4 pages, color lithograph print in 20 copies, illustration signed by Enrico Baj

This extremely rare menu is comprised of a Baj lithograph and an extraordinary list of courses prepared by chef Gualtiero Marchesi (1930–). Baj is famous for his collages made with different materials like metals, buttons and trimmings. These everyday items are mixed into his paintings, following the ideas of Surrealism and Dadaism. His works come from an irreverent spirit of anarchy and often include grotesque characters and elements of parody.

[Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library - Italy – Historical Figures: Illustrators and Painters].
COLLOC. A.45.04 – INV. 1322.

November 23, 1989 – Milan, Italy, Studio Marconi: dinner November 23, 1989 – Milan, Italy, Studio Marconi: dinner

November 23, 1989 – Milan, Italy, Studio Marconi: dinner

Exhibit of Valerio Adami Written in Italian – Italian Cusinie 4 pages, color letterpress, illustrated by Valerio Adami

This menu was created by chef Gualtiero Marchesi (1930–) and the graphics were completed by Valerio Adami (1935–) for the inauguration of his art exhibition in the Marconi Studio in Milan. Adami’s paintings are identifiable due to his use flat, chromatic drawings and clean black outlines. The paintings generally depict comic-book-like stories, full of fantasy and irony, which take place inside impersonal spaces full of banal, everyday objects, intended to be symbols of modernity.

[Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library - Italy – Historical Figures: Illustrators and Painters].
COLLOC. A.45.09 – INV. 1377.

198. – Milan, Italy: lunch

198. – Milan, Italy: lunch Metaphysical Baccalà with Onions

Written in Italian – Italian Cuisine Three-dimensional object, mixed media piece by Lucio del Pezzo

This menu was created by Italian painter and sculptor Lucio del Pezzo (1933–) as an metaphysical expression of the dishes listed. The work of art was created for Livio e Wilma Cerini di Castegnate, and whose name appears on the piece, signed by the artist. The work of Del Pezzo is characterized by its ironic tone, the use of decontextualized everyday objects, and playful assembly. It recalls the central themes of Pop Art, the art of De Chirico and Morandi and the geometry of metaphysic painting. In terms of the gastronomic content, the menu is inspired items were inspired by the Cucina Futurista, or Futurist Cuisine, of Marinetti and Fillìa.

[Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library - Italy – Historical Figures: Illustrators and Painters].
COLLOC. A.45.13 – INV. N.N.

198. – Milan, Italy: lunch

198. – Milan, Italy: lunch Metaphysical Baccalà with Bell Pepper

Written in Italian – Italian Cuisine Three-dimensional object, mixed media piece by Lucio del Pezzo

This menu was created by Italian painter and sculptor Lucio del Pezzo (1933–) as an metaphysical expression of the dishes listed. The work of art was created for Livio e Wilma Cerini di Castegnate, and whose name appears on the piece, signed by the artist. The work of Del Pezzo is characterized by its ironic tone, the use of decontextualized everyday objects, and playful assembly. It recalls the central themes of Pop Art, the art of De Chirico and Morandi and the geometry of metaphysic painting. In terms of the gastronomic content, the menu is inspired items were inspired by the Cucina Futurista, or Futurist Cuisine, of Marinetti and Fillìa.

[Academia Barilla Gastronomic Library - Italy – Historical Figures: Illustrators and Painters].
COLLOC. A.45.14 – INV. N.N