From Munch to crunch – university worker recreates masterpieces on toast


A university admin worker has created some “tasty” bits of artwork during lockdown by recreating masterpieces on pieces of toast.

Caroline Barnes, a human resources business partner at the University of Portsmouth, began turning her daily lunches into works of art to amuse her colleagues while working at home during the pandemic.

Her first piece was based on The Scream by Edvard Munch which was prompted by her frustration at a planned Easter holiday to the US and Canada being cancelled.

The 56-year-old from Portsmouth, Hampshire, said: “At the beginning of lockdown and with my monthly visits to the National Gallery on hold, I thought I’d try to transfer the art I was missing to toast.

“It’s tricky to match the original, especially to keep the scale, and make sure it’s edible.”

Ms Barnes said that making her artwork helped her appreciate art in a different way. She said: “Although Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting wasn’t my favourite painting, it was lovely to eat. I made the woman’s body a pig in a blanket, and bacon makes everything taste better.

“My favourite artist is Caravaggio but his works are too complex for toast art.

“Of all the toast art I’ve made, my favourite to eat was Picasso’s Woman in a Hat as it’s the closest to what I’d normally eat for lunch.

“I enjoyed trying to recreate the intricacies of some of Munch’s work, too.”

She said that one of her biggest challenges was finding blue foods and added: “At the beginning I struggled with paintings with lots of blue as there are no true blue foods.

“However, I have recently found some blue icing at the back of the larder left, so if I can bring myself to eat royal icing on toast, I have that covered now.”

Ms Barnes was inspired to try food art after visiting Japan for the Rugby World Cup last year where she saw “amazing food art” for the first time.

She said: “I don’t have the same skill or patience to do it to that level, but with galleries closed for months, I wanted to try and combine my passion for looking at art with the need to make lunch every day and this is what I came up with. Sharing pictures of my creations on our staff group was just a bit of fun.

“I’m not a natural artist, just a lunchtime one.”