I found today’s painting while I was surfing the internet, and I absolutely fell in love with it. Today’s painting is called La Vucciria by Sicilian painter Renato Guttuso. Here you can read more about the painting and the artist.
This painting is a representation of “La Vucciria” a famous market in Palermo, Sicily. The market is open Monday thru Saturday. In the market not only you can buy food, but you can also find clothes, cleaning appliances, bags, presents….really anything you need! I love how Guttuso represented this scene. He painted the food in every little detail, being careful to portray every type of food you can find at the market. The food itself is very detailed and true to reality; it seems like Guttuso asked for ingredients to be shipped from Sicily to Milan when he was painting so he could be able to draw them. I also love how Guttuso was able to portray the movement and chaos of the market, by inserting people walking, and placing the different types of food very close to each other.
The market is not only a place where people go to buy what they need; it is also a place where people socialize. I can say this, because I was able to experience it when I was growing up.
The town where I come from, Correggio, like many other towns and cities in Italy, has an assigned day for the market. In my town the chosen day is Wednesday. On this day, the town lights up. The streets are full of people buying at the stands, chatting with their friends, greeting people that they haven’t seen in a long time. The town is alive for those few hours and then after the vendors leave, everybody goes home to have lunch and the town becomes quiet again.
People go to the market to see their friends, chat, catch up, gossip. Sometimes people go to the market and come home without having bought anything, but full of stories and information.
I went to the market many times with my grandmother and I remember stopping to talk with so many people while walking down the streets. If one day I did not go, my grandmother would fill me in on her experience during lunch: she would tell me about who she saw and talked to! If my grandmother did not go to the market for a couple of Wednesdays, at the supermarket or a the doctors, her friends would tell her things like: “I haven’t seen you in so long at the market! Where have you been? How are you?”
The market becomes a place where people need to remind the “world” that they are there, how they are doing etc. This is particularly true for the older generations, but my generation is also getting close to that. On wednesdays cafes are busier with young people who meet and wait to see their friends and their crushes. I do not know if this is true for all of Italy, it might be only something that happens in small towns.
As for today’s recipe, It’s hard to choose which one to share. There are just so many ingredients in the painting! I decided to share a recipe on how to cook swordfish, because it’s the first detail in the painting that catches my eye.
The recipe is for grilled swordfish with lemon, mint and basil, definitely a Mediterranean combination of flavors. Enjoy!