Gustave Courbet’s  Le Repas de Chasse

Gustave Courbet’s Le Repas de Chasse

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...
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...
When Silenus’ Donkey Brayed

When Silenus’ Donkey Brayed

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...
Orwell’s Picnic in a Field of Bluebells

Orwell’s Picnic in a Field of Bluebells

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...
Trollope’s Hellish Picnic in the Environs of Cincinnati

Trollope’s Hellish Picnic in the Environs of Cincinnati

Sandwiches in the United States are mentioned first by Frances Trollope in Domestic Manners of the Americans. Their contents if know were soon forgotten as Trollope and her companions suffered a hellish “pic-nic” party in the woods surrounding Cincinnati circa 1829....
Ligare’s Hercules at the Crossroads

Ligare’s Hercules at the Crossroads

Hercules Protecting the Balance Between Pleasure and Virtue (1993) is David Ligare’s allusion to Dürer’s Hercules at the Crossroads (1498c.). His important change is the picnic. What Dürer implies Ligare makes emphatic. He shows no food, instead Ligare places Pleasure...
Dürer’s Picnic at the Crossroads

Dürer’s Picnic at the Crossroads

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

Rousseau’s festin is a euphemism for a picnic

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...