Skip to main content

Adriaen van Ostade, A Peasant courting an Elderly Woman

Key facts
Full title A Peasant courting an Elderly Woman
Artist Adriaen van Ostade
Artist dates 1610 - 1685
Date made 1653
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 27.3 × 22.1 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2542
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Peasant courting an Elderly Woman
Adriaen van Ostade

In this tender little scene, Adriaen van Ostade shows an elderly peasant with his hand on that of a woman about his age. He leans towards her, his other hand holding a tall, full beer glass – perhaps denoting his desire for her. Her hand is on a long unbroken clay pipe – in Dutch art of the time this often symbolised virginity. She smiles a little, but has not yet raised her eyes to his, so we sense her shyness and uncertainty.

In the eighteenth century a print of the two elderly lovers was known as ‘Het schollenmannetje’, literally ‘the little plaice man’, referring to the fish on the table, perhaps brought as a gift to the man’s beloved.

Eight hundred of Adriaen van Ostade’s paintings are known, most of them small genre scenes. They show his skill in portraying human emotions with a keen eye for reality and, in this case, great sensitivity and empathy.

Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download a low-resolution copy of this image for personal use.

License this image

License and download a high-resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low-resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Download low-resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo