Tag Archives: genre paintings

#FineArtFriday: Shrovetide Revelers by Frans Hals ca. 1616

Frans_Hals,_Merrymakers_at_Shrovetide,_The_Metropolitan_Museum_of_ArtArtist: Frans Hals  (1582/1583–1666)

Title: Shrovetide Revelers

Genre: genre painting

Date: circa 1616–17

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: 51 ¾ × 39 ¼ in. (131.4 × 99.7 cm)

Collection: Metropolitan Museum of Art

What I think about this painting:

This was a lurid scene at the time it was painted and is still lurid today. The sole female portrayed is a girl dressed in the finest of garments, surrounded by men. She is well-fed, has abundant blonde hair, and represents the concept of “plenty.” The party will go on for as long as she lasts–when she is gone, the party is over.

The color of her hair is gold, an allegory for an abundance of coins. The men posed around her represent the human tendency toward gluttony, drunkenness, and greed.

Frans Hals depicted the embroideries on the fabric of her dress and the intricate lace at her neck and cuffs with exquisite care and attention to detail. The sheen of her satin sleeves gleams in the candlelight, showing off the strings of beads at her neck and wrist. Perhaps the beads are carnelians. Her brightly flushed cheeks give evidence to her inebriation.

All the characters, including the serving man, are shown as having overindulged. The foods on the table are those any person could acquire, but they are shown being wasted, used as decorations for fools.

Food was an incredibly popular subject for paintings during the renaissance–still lifes were exceedingly good sellers for most artists. Food of all varieties was carefully staged and shown with superb realism and minute detail. Those artists we now call the Dutch and Flemish masters used food as an allegory, and even in genre paintings, they loved to paint lavish food displays.

As in the scene above, the foods depicted in scenes of drunkenness and revelry conveyed symbolic meanings, often implying immorality and debauchery.

Mostly, the imagery was intended to be a reminder that great wealth can vanish overnight. Also, they show us that gluttony is both unappealing to look at and unhealthy for the glutton.

But when I see an image such as this painting, I have to think these artists, whose own morals were often quite elastic, were exercising their broad senses of humor.

About this painting, via The Met Museum:

Shrovetide, now better known as Mardi Gras, is the traditional period of indulgence before the fasting and self-discipline of Lent. In the seventeenth-century Netherlands, it was also the occasion for theatrical performances by the painters’ guilds.

Here, Hals depicts two stock figures from these plays, Hans Wurst, with a sausage dangling from his cap, and Pekelharing, who sports a garland of salted fish and eggs.

They flank a richly dressed girl (probably a boy in drag, as women were not permitted to perform on these occasions).

Still life elements litter the foreground, evoking both the traditional foods of the festival and an abundance of erotic innuendo. [1]

About this painting, via Wikipedia:

Shrovetide Revellers, also known as Merrymakers at Shrovetide, is a painting by the Dutch Golden Age painter Frans Hals, painted in around 1616–17. It is one of the earliest surviving works by Hals, and has been held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City since 1913. The painting shows people festivities at Shrovetide (DutchCarnaval), an annual carnival of food and jollity which takes place before the Christian fasting season of Lent.

The painting shows the face of an elegantly dressed smiling woman raising her right finger to make a point, while a man grabs her shoulder to whisper in her ear: he has a string of herring, eggs and mussels around his neck, with a pig’s trotter and a fox tail, symbols of gluttony and foolishness respectively. Another amused gentleman, with a wurst hanging from his cap, leans on the first man’s shoulder and listens to their banter. Some claim these are the Baroque theatre characters Peeckelhaeringh and Hans Wurst. Behind them other people are talking and laughing. The flagon Bears the initials “fh”. [2]


Credits and Attributions:

[1] Shrovetide Revellers or Merrymakers at Shrovetide by Frans Hals, Met Museum Contibutors © 2000–2022 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Frans Hals | Merrymakers at Shrovetide | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (metmuseum.org) (Accessed April 14, 2022).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “Shrovetide Revellers,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shrovetide_Revellers&oldid=1070869013 (accessed April 14, 2022).

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#FineArtFriday: Peasant Wedding, David Teniers II (revisited)

The Peasant Wedding by David Teniers the Younger  first appeared here on Life in the Realm of Fantasy on Nov 2, 2018. It’s one of my favorite Flemish paintings, because it depicts an event that is intrinsic even in today’s society–the wedding. The families of the bride and groom go all out, and weddings tend to be as big a party as the pair can manage no matter how rich or poor they are.

This painting is full of movement and life, and shows real people having a great party. The musicians are playing, some people are singing, some are talking, and some are dancing. Most are eating and just enjoying themselves. A few of the men are becoming a little familiar with the ladies, who are not really having any, and a few people have indulged a little too much.

Even the dog is having a good time.

Teniers was a prolific and skilled artist, a man remembered today as much for his lofty social ambitions as he is for the quantity and excellence of his work. He wanted to be a nobleman; indeed he once falsely laid claim to being descended from a noble line. Several times he nearly succeeded in this ambition, but nobility was one accolade he never achieved.

About David Teniers II, from Wikipedia:

Teniers married into the famous Brueghel artist family when Anna Brueghel, daughter of Jan Brueghel the Elder, became his wife on 22 July 1637. Rubens, who had been the guardian of Anna Brueghel after her father’s death, was a witness at the wedding.

Through his marriage Teniers was able to cement a close relationship with Rubens who had been a good friend and frequent collaborator with his wife’s father. This is borne out by the fact that at the baptism of the first of the couple’s seven children David Teniers III, Rubens’ second wife, Hélène Fourment was the godmother.

Teniers’ wife died on 11 May 1656. On 21 October of the same year the artist remarried. His second wife was Isabella de Fren, the 32-year-old daughter of Andries de Fren, secretary of the Council of Brabant. It has been suggested that Teniers’ main motive for marrying the ‘spinster’ was her rather elevated position in society. His second wife also brought him a large dowry. The couple had four children, two sons and two daughters. His second wife’s attitude to Teniers’ children from his first marriage would later divide the family in legal battles.

At the behest of his Antwerp colleagues of the Guild of Saint Luke, Teniers became the driving force behind the foundation of the Academy in Antwerp, only the second of such type of institution in Europe after the one in Paris. The artist used his connections and sent his son David to Madrid to assist in the negotiation to successfully obtain the required licence from the Spanish King. There were great celebrations in Antwerp when, on 26 January 1663, Teniers came from Brussels with the royal charter creating the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the existence of which was due entirely to his persistence.

Teniers petitioned the king of Spain to be admitted to the aristocracy but gave up when the condition imposed was that he should give up painting for money.

He was an innovator in a wide range of genres such as history,  genrelandscapeportrait and still life. He is now best remembered as the leading Flemish genre painter of his day


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:David Teniers de Jonge – Peasant Wedding (1650).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:David_Teniers_de_Jonge_-_Peasant_Wedding_(1650).jpg&oldid=225700063 (accessed November 2, 2018).

Wikipedia contributors, “David Teniers the Younger,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=David_Teniers_the_Younger&oldid=858638339 (accessed November 2, 2018).

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#FineArtFriday: Peasant Wedding, David Teniers II

I love today’s painting. The Peasant Wedding by the Flemish painter, print maker, David Teniers the Younger, is full of movement and life, and shows real people having a great party. The musicians are playing, some people are singing, some are talking, and some are dancing. Most are eating and just enjoying themselves. A few of the men are becoming a little familiar with the ladies, who are not really having any, and a few people have indulged a little too much.

Even the dog is having a good time.

Teniers was a prolific and skilled artist, a man remembered today as much for his lofty social ambitions as he is for the quantity and excellence of his work. He wanted to be a nobleman; indeed he once falsely laid claim to being descended from a noble line. Several times he nearly succeeded in this ambition, but nobility was one accolade he never achieved.

About David Teniers II, from Wikipedia:

Teniers married into the famous Brueghel artist family when Anna Brueghel, daughter of Jan Brueghel the Elder, became his wife on 22 July 1637. Rubens, who had been the guardian of Anna Brueghel after her father’s death, was a witness at the wedding.

Through his marriage Teniers was able to cement a close relationship with Rubens who had been a good friend and frequent collaborator with his wife’s father. This is borne out by the fact that at the baptism of the first of the couple’s seven children David Teniers III, Rubens’ second wife, Hélène Fourment was the godmother.

Teniers’ wife died on 11 May 1656. On 21 October of the same year the artist remarried. His second wife was Isabella de Fren, the 32-year-old daughter of Andries de Fren, secretary of the Council of Brabant. It has been suggested that Teniers’ main motive for marrying the ‘spinster’ was her rather elevated position in society. His second wife also brought him a large dowry. The couple had four children, two sons and two daughters. His second wife’s attitude to Teniers’ children from his first marriage would later divide the family in legal battles.

At the behest of his Antwerp colleagues of the Guild of Saint Luke, Teniers became the driving force behind the foundation of the Academy in Antwerp, only the second of such type of institution in Europe after the one in Paris. The artist used his connections and sent his son David to Madrid to assist in the negotiation to successfully obtain the required licence from the Spanish King. There were great celebrations in Antwerp when, on 26 January 1663, Teniers came from Brussels with the royal charter creating the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, the existence of which was due entirely to his persistence.

Teniers petitioned the king of Spain to be admitted to the aristocracy but gave up when the condition imposed was that he should give up painting for money.

He was an innovator in a wide range of genres such as history,  genrelandscapeportrait and still life. He is now best remembered as the leading Flemish genre painter of his day


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:David Teniers de Jonge – Peasant Wedding (1650).jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:David_Teniers_de_Jonge_-_Peasant_Wedding_(1650).jpg&oldid=225700063 (accessed November 2, 2018).

Wikipedia contributors, “David Teniers the Younger,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=David_Teniers_the_Younger&oldid=858638339 (accessed November 2, 2018).

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