Thomas Cole was at the height of his landscape-painting career in 1845 when he received a commission from James Brown, a wealthy New York banker who requested a landscape with interesting figure groups. Cole chose the subject of a picnic to describe the ideal coexistence of nature and civilization. The bounty of nature embodied in the parklike natural setting is accentuated by the trappings of the meal dispersed throughout and the flower gartands that three of the women wear in place of their fashionable bonnets. Hints of time's passage and mortality also invade this otherwise lighthearted scene through the ax-cut tree stump so prominent in the foreground.
- Artist: Thomas Cole, American, 1801-1848
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dates: 1846
- Dimensions: 47 7/8 x 54 in. (121.6 x 137.2 cm) (show scale)
- Signature: Signed lower center: "T Cole / 1846"
- Collections:American Art
- Museum Location: This item is on view in American Identities: A New Look, Everyday Life/A Nation Divided, 5th Floor
- Accession Number: 67.205.2
- Credit Line: Healy Purchase Fund B
- Rights Statement: No known copyright restrictions
- Caption: Thomas Cole (American, 1801-1848). The Pic-Nic, 1846. Oil on canvas, 47 7/8 x 54 in. (121.6 x 137.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Healy Purchase Fund B, 67.205.2
- Record Completeness: Best (83%)