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Tavern Scene

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David Teniers II
Antwerp 1610 - Brussels 1690
oil on panel
37 x 39 cm
Inventory Number 345

Landscape with tavern is a recurring theme in the oeuvre of David Teniers II, an artist known mostly for his interiors, peasant scenes and landscapes. Unlike his earlier work, this painting has no moralising undertones. It is not so much a warning against sinful behaviour as a study in compositional balance.
In the left foreground, a woman stands in the doorway of the tavern. Outside, a group of men, mostly seated, are drinking and smoking. The upright figure in a red bonnet turns his head towards a dog, guiding the gaze of the viewer towards the river further along. Across the river lies an imposing landscape, dominated by a castle amidst foliage and a tower higher up the rock face. The drama of the landscape is reflected in the breaking clouds above.

Small painting, grand landscape

Landscape painting became particularly popular from the 1640s, as the urban elites increasingly sought diversion in so-called ‘pleasure palaces’ out in the country. The virtuoso brushwork, with fluent transitions and carefully applied accents, effectively transform this small painting into a grand landscape.

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