Walker Evan’s picnic with Robert Lowell and Caroline Blackwood

Walker Evan’s picnic with Robert Lowell and Caroline Blackwood

When Walker Evan photographed Robert Lowell and Caroline Blackwood picnicking on the grass, he was aware of the couple’s tension. He wrote to a friend, “I think they do a lot for each other, and it is a great pleasure to see.” But hinting there was more to tell,...
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...
May Day with Suguaro

May Day with Suguaro

It was probably 90 degrees on May 1 when soldiers and their families posed for George Rothrock in the desert outside of Fort McDowell, Arizona. Featured Image:  George Rothrock. May Day Picnic at Fort McDowell, Arizona, May 1, 1877c. See: Jeremy Rowe. “George...
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...
Alexandre Dumas’ Musketeers Picnic

Alexandre Dumas’ Musketeers Picnic

Among picnics on the battlefield the déjeuner sur l’herbe in The Three Musketeers sets the pattern for sardonic humor. It’s meant as yet another instance of the Musketeers’ bravado, but Alexandre Dumas and Auguste Maquet (his co-author) add comic relief to the serious...
Leonid Andreyev’s Nightmare Picnic

Leonid Andreyev’s Nightmare Picnic

Leonid Andreyev’s The Red Laugh is antiwar horror story about Russia’s war in Manchuria. The novel is constantly downbeat and each of its chapters is a fragment, the first of which begins “Horror and Madness.” The picnic happens after soldiers on the front lines drag...
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...
Leonid Andreyev’s Nightmare Picnic with Samovar

Leonid Andreyev’s Nightmare Picnic with Samovar

The picnic in Leonid Andreyev’s The Red Laugh is a nightmarish description of soldiers on the front lines dragging a comrade who is already dead to safety. Their universe the narrator says says is “red” and making a sardonic joke that no one else understands he says...
Jane Bowles’ Picnic In the Summer House

Jane Bowles’ Picnic In the Summer House

People do silly things at picnics, and Jane Bowles’ play In the Summer House proves the rule. Bowles means for the play to be absurd, and she succeeds. The play begins with a lawn picnic at which characters with tenuous relationships incessantly bicker. When Mr....
Mario Vargas Ilosa Turns Picnic Topsy-Turvy

Mario Vargas Ilosa Turns Picnic Topsy-Turvy

According to expectation, Don Rigoberto assumes a picnic is always happy. However, the hero of Mario Vargas Llosa’s Don Rigoberto’s Note Books stretches his imagination not to believe otherwise.   Having endured deep family and personal stress, Rigoberto tries...