Summon some Flemish yokels. Send for some Venetian aristocrats. Then open the ale and party to the sound of bagpipes … if you can’t get to a Christmas bash this year, come to art’s best knees-ups instead

Has your Christmas party been cancelled? Or perhaps you never got an invitation in the first place. Fear not. However socially distanced this festive season becomes, you can always soak up some fun from the great party scenes in art.

Would you rather dance in the village square with beered-up peasants from the paintbrush of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, or glug red wine and get your clothes off with Titian’s boozy revellers? They are not so different. After all, everyone’s the same after a few drinks. Although painted nearly 50 years apart, at different ends of Europe, Titian’s Bacchanal of the Andrians and Bruegel’s Peasant Dance both depict large crowds united in a wild yet graceful rite in which there’s room for many telling details: two villagers snogging to the sound of bagpipes, a youth balancing a pitcher of wine at a dangerous angle, a rustic couple dancing hand in hand, a woman lying back in satisfaction.

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