an ongoing feature series aimed at exposing and examining genres of art
we don't really like.
Category One :
This genre which originated in the 1620s in Amsterdam makes an appearance in practically every Old Master auction sale and of course, is particularly prevalent in Dutch and German sales.
Enormously popular at the time, its main exponents
were Pieter Codde, Jacob Duck and Willem Cornelisz Duyster but they inspired
a whole camp of less talented followers. They seem to have developed the
genre from earlier tavern and peasant scenes painted by Jan Massys and
others in the sixteenth century.
The scene is usually set in a grotty tavern or
some other dim Dutch interior such as a guard-room or bordello. Typically
there are three essential characters: the young woman, the older woman
or procuress and a male figure who is either offering money to the girl
or being tricked into losing his purse when his attentions are diverted.
What amazes us further, is that there are still
gents around who collect this stuff with a passion. A good Codde or Duck
can sell at auction for $US60,000.
The coyness of the cataloguers at Sotheby's and Christie's in this genre is risible. This is a typical catalogue entry "Interior of an inn with an elderly kitchen maid observing an amorous couple, cows, chickens and a dog with guardsmen eating, drinking and making merry in the background."
Characteristic of these paintings are the warm tonalities and brownish murky colours that give the impression all this sordid activity is going on in a very unhealthy atmosphere clogged with pipe smoke and acrid fumes from the kitchen.
The above article reflects the ideas of our reader and not necessarily represents ARTnewspaper.com own opinion on the subject.
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