The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Interior with Peasants
  • Adriaen van Ostade (1610 - 1685)
  • Interior with Peasants
  • Netherlands
  • 1663
  • Painting
  • Oil on oak panel
  • Image size: 34.1 x 39.7 cm
    Frame size: 58 x 64 cm
  • Signature: 'Av. Ostade. 1663', the 'Av.' in monogram
  • P169
  • East Galleries II
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • The scene stands within the tradition of peasant satire that originated in the southern Netherlands in the sixteenth century, aiming to expose the vices of mankind. Here the mother attempting to feed her child recalls the seventeenth-century Dutch proverb ‘Open wide when someone offers you pap, or else later you will receive nothing’. The moral outcome of the tale is underlined by the disordered poverty of the interior, with mussel shells littering the floor and a group of idle men drinking and chatting in the background. Ostade was a sensitive observer of mother-child relationships, and appears to have been the first contemporary artist to explore this theme in a low-life context. The picturesque rustic interior reveals Ostade’s meticulous technique, attention to detail and increasing mastery of spatial illusion, typical of his work in the 1660s.