Skip to main content

David Teniers the Younger, The Covetous Man

Key facts
Full title The Covetous Man
Artist David Teniers the Younger
Artist dates 1610 - 1690
Date made about 1648
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 62.5 × 85 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Inscribed
Acquisition credit Bequeathed by Lord Farnborough, 1838
Inventory number NG155
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Previous owners
The Covetous Man
David Teniers the Younger

In one of his parables, Christ told of a rich man who squirrelled away his grain and his goods, hoarding them to ensure his future comfort instead of using them for charitable deeds. But God commanded that the man’s time to die had come: ‘Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?’ (Luke 12: 20).

In this powerful piece of storytelling, Teniers has drawn on his ability to show character and incident with an insightful brush. He has lit up the faces of both figures, unsparing in his depiction of greed and covetousness. The old woman weighs coins but stares at the old man with hard eyes. He seems almost unaware of her, gazing out across the pile of deeds and glinting coins on the table. In the shadows behind the pair, an hourglass symbolises that the old man’s time is near.

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