Food items depicted in medieval paintings created at the turn of the first millennium are significantly smaller compared to the average size of the disciples' heads than the portions and plates drawn several centuries later, noticeably from the Renaissance onwards, the scientists said.
The findings indicate that the phenomenon of serving bigger portions on bigger plates, which has helped to push people into overeating food that they might not have otherwise eaten, has occurred gradually over the millennium, according to Professor Brian Wansink of Cornell University in New York.
"We took the 52 most famous paintings of the Last Supper and analysed the size of the entrées, bread and plates, relative to the average size of the average head in the painting," Professor Wansink said.
The study found that the size of the food portions and plates depicted in the paintings expanded significantly. The size of the main dish grew by 69 per cent, the size of the plates grew by 66 per cent and the size of the bread depicted in the paintings grew by 23 per cent over the course of the 1,000-year period, Professor Wansink explained.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Portion control issues
explored in this Independent piece by Steve Connor about two researchers who've recently examined 1,000 years of paintings of the Last Supper: