Two and half centuries separate is Peter Paul Rubens’s joyous The Village Fête or Country Wedding and the wedding guests killing time in the Louvre in Emile Zola’s L’Assommoir. Rubens portrays the wedding party as a joyous but indecorous celebration, a fact that Zola’s group working-class Parisians is quick to notice: “Just look!” exclaimed Boche, “it’s worth the money. There’s one spewing, and another, he’s watering the dandelions; and that one—oh! that one. Ah, well! They’re a nice clean lot, they are!” They get the joke and everyone laughs as if they are looking at monkeys in a zoo.

In Rubens’ village everyone is at play: there is music and dancing; eating and drinking. Many are drunk and there is much groping and signs of lewdness. Zola’s wedding feast in indoors at the Silver Windmill restaurant. And because the guests contribute to the cost of the food and wine, he calls it a pique-nique. For more on Gervais Macquart and Copeau’s wedding see the entry for L’Assommoir.

Featured Image: Peter Paul Rubens.The Village Fête or Country Wedding (1635-1638), oil on wood. Paris: Musée du Louvre

See: Emile Zola, Emile. The Dram-Shop [L’Assommoir (1877)], Translated by Edward Vizetelly. London: Chatto & Windus, 1897