Before social media made it possible to capture every embarrassing night out, there were paintings that reproduced every wild detail of your most unforgettable evenings. Let’s take a look at a couple and see if we can decode the debauchery.
Luncheon of the Boating Party
Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1880–81)
Featured Drink: Red wine
Required Attire: Dresses for women, suits for men. If you want to wear a white tank top you MUST wear a hat. No exceptions.
Type of Party: The One Where You Get Drunk and Makeout with the Host’s Dog
We all know there’s that one person at every party that immediately gravitates towards the animals and uses it as an excuse to ignore all the people. At least they tend to wake up the next day with less regret than everyone else, even if they are covered in dog hair.
Archibald Motley (1927)
Featured Drink: Red wine & martinis
Required Attire: Colorful, figure-flattering midi dress
Type of Party: Drinking Wine & Spilling Tea
Just try to pretend you don’t want to know what these ladies are talking about. Their no-good husbands? The dumb hat their friend who couldn’t come was wearing the other day? How they think the waiter would be in bed? We’ll never know…
Honoré Daumier 1861
Featured Drink: The strongest, cheapest stuff you can find
Required Attire: Loose clothes soaked in despair
Type of Party: You and Your Bestie Drinking Until You Can’t Feel Feelings
The title of this painting is “The Drinkers” so right away you know these guys are in for a night of serious imbibing. Whether they’re drinking away their relationship troubles, work issues, or just everything that comes with being poor and French and blurry in the 1800s, these guys are getting plastered.
Romans during the Decadence
Thomas Couture (1847)
Featured Drink: Each other
Required Attire: Togas in white, nude, or a muted primary color
Type of Party: The All-Night Orgy
This party looks like how it feels to be hungover. Some of you are still drunk and want to party, some of you are exhausted, and some of you just want to sit on a column and cry until it’s all over.
Lady at the Tea Table
Mary Cassatt 1883-85
Featured Drink: “Tea”
Required Attire: Black high neck dress, lace bonnet with matching wrist accents.
Type of Party: Me party
This may look like an innocent portrait of a woman at a fancy tea party but look at that glare in her eye and the way she’s clutching that teapot. Could she have added a little hot to her toddy? A girl’s gotta find some way to liven up those boring high society luncheons, a little whiskey might make the time fly by.
The Dancing Couple
Jan Steen 1663
Featured Drink: Beer & wine
Required Attire: 16th century casual
Type of Party: Dance party
After a few drinks, anyone can dance. But that doesn’t mean that anyone should dance. At a party like this, you either have to hide in a corner lying about a pulled muscle or give in to the music and dance like no one is watching… except for a bunch of leering guys, creepy kids, and the whole band.
No matter what kind of party you like; big or small, exciting or low-key, you can find one in the halls of a museum. Ain’t no party like a painting party cuz a painting party you can enjoy without getting a hangover. Or arrested.