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...
Twentieth Century Menu for  Bellini’s The Feast of the Gods

Twentieth Century Menu for Bellini’s The Feast of the Gods

Inspired by Giovanni Bellini’s The Feast of the Gods, Lorenza De’ Medici created a this menu forth Artist’s Table (1995). De Medici promises foods are full of the flavor of the Renaissance. Passes for modern taste. But it’s difficult to imagine Bellini or...
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...
Langley’s The Master of Game

Langley’s The Master of Game

When Edward Langley, 2nd Duke of York, translated Gaston’s The Book of the Hunt (1389) into English in 1413, French was still the language of the Court and elsewhere. Whatever Edward had in mind, the translation the signaled the linguistic shift in English society,...
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...
Sebastian Vrancx’s picnicky  Feast In The Park Of The Duke Of Mantua

Sebastian Vrancx’s picnicky Feast In The Park Of The Duke Of Mantua

Feast In The Park Of The Duke Of Mantua is Sebastian Vrancx’s fantasy of what the Duke’s Palazzo del Te might be like in summer –if it were not usually scourged by swarming gnats and mosquitoes from its nearby swamps and marshes. A white picnic cloth is highlighted in...
Piero’s Lapiths and Centaurs

Piero’s Lapiths and Centaurs

Giorgio Vasari’s assessment of Piero di Cosimo in Lives of the Painters (1550/68) is a mixed bag. Of his art, Vasari is complimentary but that as a man Vasari says that he was difficult, reclusive, and gloomy, so that “as he discoursed, he would twist everything to...