A class you probably didn't take in school: Drunk Art History. But in this class there are no tests and drinking is highly encouraged. For World Art Day we want to celebrate fine art and creativity by talking about the very important role wine has played in the world of art.
For as long as there have been people, those people have been drinking. And for as long as they’ve been drinking, people have been turning their drunken shenanigans into art. Whether as the subject of the artwork itself or as a creative lubricant, wine (and alcohol in general) has provided lots of liquid inspiration to artists all over the world. This topic is vast and lengthy so today we're starting out by giving you some speedy highlights of Ancient Drunk History:
The worlds oldest wine and first-ever chemical evidence of fermented beverages were found in China in the Neolithic village of Jiahu and dates back to 7000 B.C. and is said to be the oldest alcoholic beverage ever consumed. This ancient wine influenced some of the earliest pottery jars were made and sculpted with ornate carvings and designs to store the beverage.
Jars with the oldest wine via U. Penn. Museum & llustration of the cultivation of grapes and winemaking in Materia Dietetica (Shiwu Bencao 食物本草), Ming dynasty (1368–1644).
Now we use the term 'wine' loosely because archaeologists refer to this ancient Chinese beverage as an 'extreme' fermented drink that is made of grapes, hawthorn(rose), rice, fruit, and honey. The experts say the concoction tastes like a mix of strong wine, beer, and herbal medicine... Needless to say, we're glad drinks have improved since then and that we don't have to be the ones to try this.
Ancient Egyptian Reliefs included paintings of beer and wine - which is how we know that Cleopatra’s favourite wine was made with Muscat grapes. (Try a sip of history - shop our wines with Muscat grapes!) In Ancient Egypt, wine was so important it was even featured in many murals in pharaohs tombs and palaces.
Painters in Ancient Rome commonly painted the god of wine, Bacchus - a drunken party god who was depicted throwing wicked, wild, and promiscuous parties... (So we're thinking he would have been a fan of the Horny Rosé or the Pornfelder.😉) Wine was part of daily life for Romans so along with paintings wine and grapevines were also depicted in many ceramics and sculptures.
Fun fact: bumping glasses and saying "cheers" actually comes from ancient Rome and was started as a way to make sure their wine wasn't being poisoned. Officials (who clearly weren't very popular) would bump glasses hard enough so their wine would spill into the other person's glass - so keep your drinks close and your enemies closer? This is one of several poison-related practices from ancient Rome so apparently, it was a bit of a problem?
From dark Egyptian tombs to ancient Chinese pottery, and Greek sculptures, artists have been portraying our beloved booze and the inebriated people that drink it throughout history. So the takeaway from this inebriated art history lesson? The next time you’ve had a few too many glasses, don't feel embarrassed - Instead, be proud to be a part of a long and rich cultural and artistic tradition.
Looking for a bit of creative juice for yourself? Shop these wines in our Creative Wine Moment that will help get your creative and artistic process going.