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...
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...
William Kurelek’s Paranoia

William 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...
Lambert’s Box Hill Picnics

Lambert’s Box Hill Picnics

Even if George Lambert knew the French word pique-nique, he would not use to describe an outing on the grass because it was not used in this context. By French custom it was an indoor meal. Moreover, there is no evidence the English used pique-nique in writing or...
Ovid’s Feast of the Gods

Ovid’s Feast of the Gods

When Alfonso d’Este, the Duke to Ferrara and his wife Lucrezia Borgia, asked for a painting expressing worldly delights, drinking, and sensuality, Giovanni Bellini complied. Now ending a successful career as a painter of Madonnas, saints, popes, here he is...
Bonnard’s By the Sea, Under the Pines

Bonnard’s By the Sea, Under the Pines

By the Sea, Under the Pines (1921) is Pierre Bonnard’s picnic of mood and atmosphere not food and drink. It’s situated on the bluff near St. Tropez overlooking the brilliant blue ocean. Around the woman, a man, a child and a recumbent dog, everything is gold, yellow,...
Kenneth Graham’s “Wayfarers All” in The Wind on the Willows

Kenneth Graham’s “Wayfarers All” in The Wind on the Willows

The other picnic in The Wind in the Willows, “Wayfarers All,” a somber conversation between Ratty and Sea Rat that alert readers will guess is an allusion to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner. Here Sea Rat portrays the Ancient Mariner, whose glittering eye...