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...
The Homeric picnic in O Brother Where Art Thou?

The Homeric picnic in O Brother Where Art Thou?

After three thousand years, Homer’s The Odyssey got a picnic. Ethan Coen and Joel Coen’s loose adaptation of Homer’s epic O Brother Where Art Thou? makes a picnic of Ulysses’ encounter with Polyphemus, the one-eyed. Picture Everett, aka Odysseus, and loyal follower...
Sara & Gerald Murphy picnic in Antibes

Sara & Gerald Murphy picnic in Antibes

Villa America, Sara and Gerald Murphy’s home in Antibes looked down on a beach called La Garoupe, where they spread oriental carpets on the sand and drank wine and cold Veuve Cliquot. They were prodigious drinkers but what they ate is a mystery. During the 1920s,...

   
Samuel Beckett’s murderous picnic in Malone Dies

Samuel Beckett’s murderous picnic in Malone Dies

Time and details in Beckett’s Malone Dies are contradictory and often obscure. Events of the narrative are especially confusing, especially as it reaches a bloody climax that ends with a picnic where six people are hacked to death. This event is related by the...
Ron Howard’s Nerdish Picnic in A Beautiful Mind

Ron Howard’s Nerdish Picnic in A Beautiful Mind

Ron Howard’s fictional (and sentimental) A Beautiful Mind is a biography of John Nash, a Nobel Prize winning mathematician. If Nash ever picnicked, his (factual) biographer Sylvia Nasar doesn’t mention it. Undeterred, Howard invents a lovers’ picnic at which Nash...
Samuel Pepys’ “Frolique” is a Picnic

Samuel Pepys’ “Frolique” is a Picnic

Samuel Pepys’ “frolique” is our picnic was a favorite way for him to spend an afternoon with friends idling. We know this from his Diary, a frank glimpse of his personal and professional lives, begun when he was thirty-seven, and continued for the next decade. Among...
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...
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...