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"The Third Day After Thanksgiving"

Giovanni di Polenta

Giovanni di Polenta really, really wanted to be a fry cook, but, coming from a long line of painters, family pressures prevented him from abandoning his easel and brushes for a griddle and spatula. His frustrated ambition is reflected in his relentless use of fast-food themes for which he became barely famous, or at any rate, notorious. 

Beginning with his "Nativity: the Magi Bring Takeout to the Stable", and continuing in "Madonna and Child with Extra Fries", Polenta explored the limits of his abilities, usually with a brush in one hand and a newspaper cone of fish and chips in the other. It was executed in 1453 using tempura on a wooden serving platter. 

The sheer amount of second-hand grease in his paintings has led to the loss of several of his less obscure works. In the warm summer of 1908 his "John the Baptist in the Dessert Line" slid slowly off the canvas in the Tate Museum in London, where it lay in a pile on the floor until the maintenance people came in later that evening. The work shown here, alternatively titled "The All-You-Can-Eat Hardee's Thanksgiving Hangers-on" is dedicated to opportunistic gourmands everywhere.

His last work, the "Madonna of Pizza" altarpiece hangs, appropriately, in the Domino Cathedral in Pisa.


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