Pieter Brueghel d. J. (Werkstatt)
Peasants’ Fair, after 1616
Oil on wood / 83 x 164 cm
Inv. no. D1414 / Dr. Clemens Sels Collection
This is a high-quality copy of a painting by Pieter Brueghel the Younger from the year 1616, made by an unknown painter from Brueghel’s workshop. Depictions of festivals and taverns were extremely popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, especially in the Netherlands. This genre painting takes an ironic view of the immoral goings-on during a church festival. Drunken peasants are seen in the middle where two couples are embracing and kissing and a colorfully dressed mercenary soldier is harrassing another man. On the right, a couple is dancing over swords lying on the ground while the man balances a costly glass on his head. A decorated pole promises attractive prizes to the bold climber who can reach the top. The festivities have already led to a fight. The left side of the painting shows the typical enterprises at a village fair. Farmers who have just come from the livestock market are conversing while beer is being drawn from barrels next to them. A man is being treated by a dentist while a woman picks his pocket during the operation. In the background a parson is receiving a wedding procession. Two pipers accompany it with typical peasant instruments, the bagpipes and the shawm.