Gustave Courbet’s  Le Repas de Chasse  (1858)

Gustave Courbet’s Le Repas de Chasse (1858)

Courbet hugely enjoyed the hunt, and at the center of Le Repas de Chasse, he painted himself nearly life-size. Believing himself an embodiment of the hunter, who he considered embodying the spirit of liberty, “un homme libre,” he was proud of his skill, once bragging...
George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four (1948)

George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four (1948)

Winston Smith’s relationship with Julia (no last name) is among the most satisfying moments in George Orwell’s 1984. It’s an interlude of romantic entanglement that begins a lustful relationship ending in pain and utter defeat. Leaving the dust of London for a safe...
Emperor Maximilien’s Halte de Chasse circa 1531

Emperor Maximilien’s Halte de Chasse circa 1531

Bernard Van Orley’s The Month of June from the series of hunting motifs known as The Hunts of Maximilian [Les Chasses de Maximilien] (1531-1533) contrast with the assembly in Gaston Phoebus’s The Book of the Hunt (1389). Instead of the hunter’s table at sunrise, Orley...
Frances Trollope’s Domestic Manners of the Americans  (1832)

Frances Trollope’s Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832)

Sandwiches in the United States are mentioned first by Frances Trollope in Domestic Manners of the Americans. Their contents, if ever revealed, soon forgotten as Trollope and her companions suffered a hellish “pic-nic” party in the woods surrounding Cincinnati circa...
Albrecht Dürer’s Hercules at the Crossroads (1498c)

Albrecht Dürer’s Hercules at the Crossroads (1498c)

Xenophon’s Memorabilia of Socrates (371BCE) tells that when Hercules was approaching manhood, he was given a choice of a life of pleasure or a life of virtue. While sitting at a crossroad and considering his future, he is approached by two immortal women, Virtue, in a...

Pippi’s Extraordinary Ordinary Day

Pippi’s Extraordinary Ordinary Day (1999) is another of those gargantuan lunches for children. Lindgren’s zany picnic makes a humorous case for gourmandism, but it’s a gastronomical trial for any but a prodigious eater. The chief picnicker is Pippi Longstocking,...
Jean Jacques Rousseau’s  “festin” in Emile (1762)

Jean Jacques Rousseau’s “festin” in Emile (1762)

A festin is a euphemism for a picnic. It’s used by Rousseau in Emile, his best-known novel, to describe a leisurely, affable, and convivial gathering that is a picnic by today’s standard. Rousseau writes that instead of the dining room, “The turf will be our chairs...
Thomas Cole’s A Pic-Nic Party (1846)

Thomas Cole’s A Pic-Nic Party (1846)

Among Cole’s paintings. Pic-Nic Party is a standout for its joie de vivre. It’s not just another of Cole’s numerous “sylvan” scenes,” which his biographer Louis Noble described  as being “all American, wide, bright polished...