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Adriaen van Ostade, A Peasant holding a Jug and a Pipe

Key facts
Full title A Peasant holding a Jug and a Pipe
Artist Adriaen van Ostade
Artist dates 1610 - 1685
Date made about 1650-5
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 26.8 × 22 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2543
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
A Peasant holding a Jug and a Pipe
Adriaen van Ostade

In this exuberant painting of a peasant, Adriaen van Ostade shows his ability to portray the human condition. We sense the giddiness of the drunken peasant as he sweeps backwards, jug open to drink straight from its neck. His mouth is gaping and his eyes are watery and unfocused, but he’s happy.

Van Ostade has displayed different textures with almost tangible reality: the glossy, weighty earthenware jug; the flesh of the hand; the creases in the sleeve and the fur collar above. Hair peeps out from the leather cap beneath the tall felt hat. The face itself is not just caricature, but seemingly flesh and blood – the slack mouth, the taut red skin of the swollen nose, the sunken, wrinkled eyes and cheeks, and the protruding Adam’s apple. He may be an entertaining, nameless character, but he’s a real person with whom we can engage.

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