Ando Hiroshige’s Cherry Blossom Viewing at Gotenyama

Ando Hiroshige’s Cherry Blossom Viewing at Gotenyama

Hiroshige’s sly sense of humor turns this hanami topsy-turvy. What his title Cherry Blossom Viewing at Gotenyama does not suggest tis that hanami is a drunken brawl. Well into the afternoon, some of the men are fist fighting and providing spectacle for of nearby...
Pál Szinyei Merse’s  Majális

Pál Szinyei Merse’s Majális

Majális is Pál Szinyei Merse’s staid Hungarian middle-class-style homage to Manet’s Dejeuner sur L’herbe. Everyone is buttoned-up. Though this is obviously a picnic, the title means “Mayfair.” Merse does not use the Hungarian loanword piknik or the expression jó s...
Gwen Raverat’s Period Piece Picnics

Gwen Raverat’s Period Piece Picnics

“Heroic Survivors of the Picnic.” is Gwen Raverat’s bittersweet memory of a miserable picnic. It’s the next-to-last anecdote in her memoir Period Piece: A Cambridge Childhood. I think she means to suggest that life was no picnic, but that she has no remorse. Despite...
Paul Sample’s Church Supper

Paul Sample’s Church Supper

This dour and static dinner on the grounds is Paul Sample’s Church Super. His take on his wife Sylvia’s hometown in Westmore, Vermont. At a glance the supper is ordinary, but many details tell otherwise. Though the minister is calling the picnickers for grace, many...
Crispijn de Passe’s Picnic in New Mirror for Youth

Crispijn de Passe’s Picnic in New Mirror for Youth

As early as the 16th century, the Dutch had no specific word for what is the equivalent of our picnic, but they were adept at alfresco entertaining. It’s evident in their paintings and in so-called emblem books, primers or handbooks, meant to instruct youthful...
Matisse’s Joy of Life Picnic

Matisse’s Joy of Life Picnic

Matisse completed The Joy of Life [Le Bonheur de Vivre] (1905-1906), a lovers’ picnic in a garden. There is a  cloth, though there is neither food nor drink. Who was it that said, “Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink”? [Also see Matisse’s Calm, Luxury, and...
Bransom’s The River Bank Picnic in The Wind in the Willows

Bransom’s The River Bank Picnic in The Wind in the Willows

Among the numerous illustrators of I, Paul Bransom’s standout because his portrayal of the character tend to look like animals they are. This is especially evident ion the flyleaf illustration of the “The River Bank.” Others of Bransom’s are more anthropocentric, but...
Moynihan’s Reminder of Peace

Moynihan’s Reminder of Peace

Rodrigo Moynihan might have wanted his painting Picnic to be remembered as a personal statement of his art, but it was chosen as war propaganda for the British Home Front in World War Two. As a war poster, it was displayed in factories and other facilities where war...
Satie’s Le Pique-Nique

Satie’s Le Pique-Nique

“Le Pique-nique,” a piano composition about 30 seconds long, is one of twenty-one very short musical interpretations in Sports et Divertissement [Sports & Entertainments] devoted to the happiness of people at play. Satie’s preface ­explains that two artistic...
Kurelek’s Paranoia

Kurelek’s Paranoia

William Kurelek said he carried “wretchedness like a heavy stone sewn up inside of me.” At times, the stone was lifted as in two picnic paintings Manitoba Party (1964) and Out of the Maze (1973), each testifying to his recovery from schizophrenia and lost spiritual...