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David Teniers the Younger, An Old Peasant caresses a Kitchen Maid in a Stable

Key facts
Full title An Old Peasant caresses a Kitchen Maid in a Stable
Artist David Teniers the Younger
Artist dates 1610 - 1690
Date made about 1650
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 43.2 × 64.9 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1871
Inventory number NG862
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
An Old Peasant caresses a Kitchen Maid in a Stable
David Teniers the Younger

David Teniers the Younger made his fortune painting bawdy scenes like this one. They were popular with wealthy collectors who were proud of their own good manners compared with those ascribed to peasants (they also found the pictures amusing).

The unfortunate young woman on her knees has lost a shoe – perhaps in her efforts to scour yet another pot, but more likely startled by the unwelcome advances of the old man. This painting may be a slice of life, but it could also derive from the comic stock characters performed by companies of Italian strolling players, the commedia dell'arte. The peasant in this picture resembles Pantalone, or Pantaloon, a stupid old man with a bulbous nose and white beard. But the jaunty feather in his cap here suggests he is crafty enough to take advantage of any situation, especially one involving a woman.

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