The Chocolate Girl

Servant girl with blue skirt, white apron, and yellow blouse holding tray of hot chocolate

The Chocolate Girl (1745) by Jean-Étienne Liotard is one of the most recognizable paintings that emerged when the chocolate craze took over Europe! As a matter of fact, hot chocolate was a luxury only experienced by lords and aristocrats for a very long time, whose exclusivity is shown through the use of porcelain cups and fancy silverware as a way to consume the delicious beverage. Though the painting has endured under strenuous conditions, such as being transported from one place to another by Nazis during the second World War, it has stood the test of time.

Some folks say that this is the Swiss painter’s best and most recognized work not only in the use of pastels, but also for the simple subject matter of an unnamed servant girl at a time where realism was rising. The work later on actually inspired some advertisements of chocolate as industrialization allowed for the bourgeoisie to consume this famously delicious good! Much unlike how the Mesoamerican civilizations drank their mixtures, Europeans would only drink it if it had the addition of milk, sugar, and in case of the Spanish royalty, a good amount of honey! To read more about this painting and the history of cacao that it portrays, visit the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister webpage and the Joy of Museums webpage.