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Summer
David Teniers the Younger

A young peasant – beardless and red-cheeked, with curly hair and a dreamy look in his eye – represents Summer in the second of Teniers' allegorical paintings of the seasons. Behind him the trees are in full leaf and the distance is hazy with heat; above, the clouds are light and puffy.

The youth stands steadying the sheaf of corn he has just finished binding with plaited straw. He wears a loose open-necked shirt, but his brown breeches and stockings are thick and heavy. Perhaps because of the summer heat and the weight of these garments he’s less active than the characters Teniers portrays as the other three seasons, though the peasants behind him are working hard. The man wields a scythe to cut the corn, while the woman bends to heap it into sheaves, ready to be tied.

Key facts
Artist David Teniers the Younger
Artist dates 1610 - 1690
Full title Summer
Group The Four Seasons
Date made about 1644
Medium and support Oil on copper
Dimensions 21.9 x 16 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1871
Inventory number NG858
Location in Gallery Not on display
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The Four Seasons

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This series of four small paintings is an allegory of the seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter have been given human forms that embody the essence of each. Spring is a gardener carrying a tree to plant in a formal garden; Summer is a peasant tying up a sheaf of corn; Autumn is a drinker who raises a glass of wine; and Winter is an old man wearing a fur cap and mantle, warming himself near a brazier.

Strongly influenced early in his career by the Dutch artist Adriaen Brouwer, Teniers became the most famous painter of peasant life of his day, rivalling Brouwer’s rowdy, raunchy tavern scenes full of larger-than-life characters.

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