Renoir's Perfect Lunch Is Not About The Food | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Renoir's Perfect Lunch Is Not About The Food

Our friends over at Food & Think, a Smithsonian blog, had a nice little post not long ago about one of Pierre-Auguste Renoir's best loved paintings of a Paris café. "Luncheon of the Boating Party" is a jolly scene of men and women flirting and chatting over lunch. But if you look closely, it's hard to tell just what they're eating.

Phillips Collection Chief Curator Eliza Rathbone tells Food & Think:

"It's like a painting about the most perfect meal that ever was—but you can't tell what most of it was. It's the end of the meal. And I think that's one of the reasons why it's such a beguiling picture. It's of that time that comes when everyone has had a delicious meal, they've all gathered, they've focused on the food and now they're just focusing on each other and this beautiful day and they don't want it to be over. And we've all had those kinds of experiences where you want to linger and those are the best meals we ever have."

Who knows if Renoir joined the luncheon or if he was just there to observe. Even if he did tuck in, he can be forgiven for not paying much attention. As NPR's April Fulton has reported, most people remember less about the food than the company when dining out. Food & Think confirms that Renoir wasn't much interested in food, though he could paint a pretty mean still life.

The painting is part of the permanent collection at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Ghanaian Mystery Writer Says, 'It's Easy To Get Murdered In Accra'

And, author Kwei Quartey adds, "The police may not find you for a little while." That's why he chose to set his second Detective Inspector Dawson book in Ghana's capital.
NPR

Oklahoma Joe's Restaurant Comes Home

Oklahoma Joe's, in Kansas City, is changing its name after 17 years in business. It's time to claim the name of the city they are famous for.
NPR

A Political Family, Funding And Running On Both Sides Of The Aisle

The wealthy Ricketts family includes conservatives and a liberal, activists and a candidate. Between them, they raise and spend a lot of political money — and exemplify how the system has changed.
NPR

X Prize Competition Could Make 'Tricorder' A Reality

Many Star Trek gadgets have made the journey from science fiction to real life. Arun Rath talks to Grant Campany about the X Prize Foundation's competition to bring the medical tricorder to life.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.