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

'Star Wars' Editors Defy Hollywood Conventions

In a film industry often dominated by men, there's at least one exception: Many editors are women. Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey speak about their work on the new Star Wars.
NPR

Florida Says Its Fruits, Vegetables Are Safe From Invasive Fruit Fly

Since September, Florida has been fighting an infestation of the Oriental fruit fly, an invasive pest that threatened more than 400 crops. The state declared the insect eradicated as of Saturday.
NPR

7 Things To Know About Presidential Appointments To The Supreme Court

Republicans are adamant they will stop anyone President Obama names to replace for Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. It's possible Obama's nominee would face the longest wait in history for a vote.
NPR

West Point Students' Plan To Counter ISIS Online Strategy

The State Department sponsored a contest to find the best ways to combat ISIS propaganda online. A group of cadets from West Point got second prize. Rachel Martin speaks with team member CJ Drew.

Leave a Comment

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