The Easel

The Ricotta Eaters by Vincenzo Campi

One of art criticism’s many forms is the forensic scrutiny of a single work. This essay is a nice example. “Campi’s peasants … guzzle their ricotta with open mouths and happily signal their base origins with their teeth. The old boy second from the right is … darker than the rest. That makes him the poorest. And if you look at the big lump of ricotta in front … it forms the shape of a skull. The mad ricotta eating has brought death to the table.”