Jean-Étienne Liotard and The Chocolate Paintings
If you love chocolate, this is your day. According to several on-line sources, July 7th was designated as World Chocolate Day around 2009. The history of chocolate celebrations, however, dates to the time of the Aztecs (450 BC) who created fermented beverages made from chocolate. They believed that Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom, gave them the gift of cacao seeds.
Fast forward to now, I am celebrating World Chocolate Day with the Swiss Painter Jean-Étienne Liotard, who was born in Geneva and lived between 1702 – 1789. It was an eventful century.
To provide some context of the time in which Liotard lived, consider that Peter the Great established Saint Petersburg in 1703. The Act of Union passed in 1707, merged the Scottish and English Parliaments, establishing the Kingdom of Great Britain. Handel’s Messiah premiered in 1742. On the other side of the world, James Cook explored and mapped New Zealand and Australia in 1769-1770. Shortly thereafter, The American Revolution began in 1775. In the years shortly before Jean-Etienne Liotard’s death, Mozart premiered in 1786-1787, The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni.
The gentle act of sipping a cup of delicious hot chocolate is a testament to the everyday occurrences that we enjoy, even as we recognize that we live within an ever-evolving, dynamic world.
Happy World Chocolate Day.
If you want to discover more about this remarkable artist, check out Jean-Étienne Liotard on Google Arts & Culture.