Lucas Cranach, the Elder’s The Fountain of Youth (1546)

Lucas Cranach, the Elder’s The Fountain of Youth (1546)

Cranach’s paintings often conflate the spiritual and erotic, particularly The Fountain of Youth and The Golden Age, both completed in 1546.  The subjects seem pagan, but his friendship with Martin Luther deeply influenced Cranach. The Fountain of Youth...
Giovanni Bellini’s Feast of the Gods (1514)

Giovanni Bellini’s Feast of the Gods (1514)

Giovanni Bellini was eighty-five(?) and in failing health, when Alfonso d’Este his wife Lucrezia Borgia, commissioned a scene intended for their Alabaster Chamber, Camerino d’alabastro. They requested, too, that the subject must be delightfully worldly and...
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...
Emperor Maximilien’s Halte de Chasse circa 1531

Edward Langley’s The Master of Game (1413)

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,...
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...
Thomas Nashe’s Potluck(1592)

Thomas Nashe’s Potluck(1592)

Both potluck and pique-nique are meals at which guests contribute a share of the food. Historically, potluck appeared in English print fifty-one years before the French word pique-nique in 1649. “Potte-lucke,” the Elizabethan spelling, must have been...
Lazarillo de Tormes’s   The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes (1554)

Lazarillo de Tormes’s The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes (1554)

Merienda has a history deriving from the Latin merenda, a light afternoon meal. Over time has come to denote a snack or meal eaten alfresco. It is unrelated etymologically to pique-nique. Though Spaniards use picnic in common parlance, they prefer such phrases as...