Skip to main content


François Barraud | La Tailleuse de Soupe | Rustic Onion Soup

 François Barraud | La Tailleuse de Soupe In "La Tailleuse de Soupe," a painting from 1933 by François Barraud, we witness a scene imbued with mystery and a touch of surrealism, both characteristics that pervade many of Barraud's works. The title originates from the French verb "tailler" which means "to cut" or "to carve". This painting captures an intriguing domestic moment. A young girl, adorned with a large orange ribbon, sits at a table where a large steaming tureen of soup sits. She gazes at the viewer with a somewhat sullen expression, while across from her, her mother, seemingly in a cheerful mood, cuts slices of bread with a distinct smile. The narrative preceding this scene remains unknown. We're left to speculate what might have led to the young girl's mood, her refusal to watch the near-dismemberment of the loaf of bread that her mother enthusiastically carves into thin slices, presumably to accompany the hot soup soon to b

Paolo Porpora | Still life with shells | Seafood Pasta with White Wine Sauce

Paolo Porpora | Still Life with shells.


Paolo Porpora, Still Life With Shells

Paolo Porpora's "Still Life with Shells" is an exquisite example of 17th-century still-life painting. In this artwork, Porpora meticulously renders a variety of shells on a dark background, emphasizing their intricate shapes and natural elegance. The use of chiaroscuro, a technique employing dramatic contrasts between light and dark, enhances the painting's sense of depth and showcases the shells' delicate textures. The composition's simplicity and attention to detail highlight the beauty of these marine treasures.



Paolo Porpora (1617-1673) was an Italian painter from Naples, primarily known for his still-life paintings. He was a prominent member of the Neapolitan Baroque movement, which flourished in the 17th century. Porpora trained under the guidance of the distinguished still-life painter Giuseppe Recco and was influenced by the works of other renowned artists like Abraham Brueghel and Tommaso Salini.


Recipe: Seafood Pasta with White Wine Sauce

In Porpora's time, seafood, including shellfish, was a significant part of the Italian diet, especially in coastal regions. Seafood, including shellfish, was enjoyed by people of various social classes. While some types of seafood were considered luxury items and reserved for the wealthy, other forms of shellfish, such as clams and mussels, were more affordable and accessible to a wider population.

In the 17th century, local fish markets were a vital source of fresh seafood, including shells and shellfish. People would visit these markets early in the morning to select the freshest catch of the day.


  • 12 oz Linguine or Spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup Clam Juice or Fish Stock
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 lb Mixed Seafood (shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Parsley
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

  2. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant.

  3. Pour the white wine into the skillet and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes, allowing the alcohol to cook off.

  4. Add the cherry tomatoes, clam juice or fish stock, and heavy cream to the skillet. Stir well and let the sauce simmer for 5-6 minutes.

  5. Add the mixed seafood to the skillet, cover, and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and the shellfish have opened. Discard any unopened shellfish.

  6. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste, and then stir in the cooked pasta until well combined.

  7. Sprinkle the pasta with chopped parsley and serve with grated Parmesan cheese on the side.

Additional Information

Seafood, including shellfish, was prepared in various ways, such as grilling, frying, stewing, or baking. Many dishes featured shells and shellfish cooked with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, and herbs like parsley and basil. Seafood stews, known as "brodetti," combined fish, shellfish, and mollusks in a flavorful broth. Other dishes, like "frutti di mare," showcased a mix of seafood, including shellfish, served over pasta or risotto.


Popular Posts