The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
A Boor Asleep
  • Adriaen Brouwer (1605 - 1638)
  • A Boor Asleep
  • Southern Netherlands
  • c. 1630 - c. 1638
  • Painting
  • Oil on oak panel
  • Image size: 36.6 x 27.6 cm
    Frame size: 56.5 x 48 x 5.5 cm
  • P211
  • East Drawing Room
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Brouwer’s career spanned both Catholic Flanders and the Protestant Dutch Republic. He may have studied with his father, a designer of tapestry cartoons at Oudenaarde in Flanders and is later said to have been a pupil of Frans Hals in Haarlem. First documented in Amsterdam in 1625, Brouwer was living in Haarlem by 1626. In 1631-2 he enrolled in the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp where he lived thereafter, specialising in low-life genre scenes of peasants drinking in taverns. His paintings follow the city dweller’s perspective on life in the countryside: direct and akin to caricature, depicting coarse facial expressions and strong emotions. Nevertheless, he sometimes made deliberate reference to contemporary moralizing literature, thus elevating low-life genre to a new intellectual level, which would have profound impact on artists such as Adriaen van Ostade and Jan Steen. This picture was a popular, frequently-copied composition. Brouwer’s paintings were highly regarded by artists and collectors during his lifetime: Rembrandt owned at least six and Rubens acquired seventeen.