A Medieval Bakery, from the Book of Problems of Pseudo-Aristotle, translated into the French by Évrart de Conty

Master of the Second Roman de la Rose of the Duke of Berry,

Not on view

Cooking over a fire and sliding plump round loaves into a large oven, the two bakers depicted on this page carry out the routine daily tasks of their profession. Yet great mystery lies behind the mundane: how does grain become bread? How are the properties of bread’s ingredients transformed through preparation? The text beginning below the image addresses these and other perplexing questions. Part of the Book of Problems, an encyclopedia once thought to have been written by the ancient Greek philosopher Artistotle, the ensuing discussion uses a question-and-answer format to explore a specific problem, or topic: in this case, the scientific phenomena underlying the everyday practice of cooking. The text’s more esoteric discussion is grounded firmly in the familiar image of bakers at work. Sensitively rendered, the two busy bakers are intent on their respective tasks. The simple line drawings convey the men’s concentration and diligence, in addition to illustrating the physical processes with which the text is concerned.

No image available

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.