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Adriaen van Ostade, The Interior of an Inn

Key facts
Full title The Interior of an Inn with Nine Peasants and a Hurdy-Gurdy Player
Artist Adriaen van Ostade
Artist dates 1610 - 1685
Date made 1653
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 39.9 × 55.7 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2540
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Interior of an Inn
Adriaen van Ostade

Adriaen van Ostade specialised in painting dimly lit rooms, often belonging to an inn, peopled by ‘low-life’ characters, their features and poses grotesquely caricatured. In some, battered furniture and broken crockery suggest the bar-room brawls that van Ostade also sometimes portrayed.

The room in this picture is drab, but while the fireplace is empty and the lighting dingy, the relationship between the small foreground group seems companionable. Behind them, another group enjoys the music of the hurdy-gurdy man.

Van Ostade may have been a student of Frans Hals, together with Adriaen Brouwer, a young Flemish painter, though their work shows little of Hals’s influence. Rather, they both developed a similar style, delighting in robust – and in some cases, raunchy – scenes of peasant life.

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