Auguste Bouquet’s Le repas de Pierrot looks like a picnic, though according to French usage a pique-nique was an indoor meal.
Bouquet’s Pierrot celebrates the actor Jean-Gaspard Deburau of the Théâtre des Funambules (Theater of the Tightrope Walkers]. the most universally admired French actor/mime before the Twentieth Century. The face is a portrait and compares with photographs of Deburau by Nadar. He is known now as a principal in Michel Carne’s film The Children of Paradise [Les enfants du paradis] (1945). From the look on his face, Pierrot is drunk. He sits spread-eagle holding a bottle in his hand, looking nowhere, a second bottle empty and a third poking out of a basket.
Alas, Pierrot waits alone, and unloved. Except for the wine, the food seems untouched. Behind him is a rustic stonewall perhaps of a shed that has a substantial trellis with flowering roses suggesting a lovers’ tryst gone bad.
Featured Image: Auguste Bouquet. Le Repas de Pierrot [Pierrot’s Repast] (1834), lithography.The British Museum explains that Bouquet’s lithograph of Pierrot was first published in Revue des peintres (1834). See: Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s version of the same situation.