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Follower of Hieronymus Janssens, Ladies and Gentlemen playing La Main Chaude

Key facts
Full title Ladies and Gentlemen playing La Main Chaude
Artist Follower of Hieronymus Janssens
Artist dates 1624 - 1693
Date made probably 1655-65
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 26.8 × 39 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by George Kingsley, 1939
Inventory number NG4976
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
Ladies and Gentlemen playing La Main Chaude
Follower of Hieronymus Janssens

A group of men and women play a game called La Main Chaude (‘the hot hand’), which involved one person hiding their face on the lap of another, placing their hand behind their back and then guessing who has hit that hand.

The artist, a follower of the Flemish painter Hieronymus Janssens, has placed the man bent over at the middle of the painting’s composition, so that his upturned hand is a central point around which the action of the scene develops. Four people crowd around a woman who is about to use her shoe to smack the prone man’s hand; a serving boy watches, taking his eyes off the glass precariously balanced on his platter.

Standing prominently to the left is a lady holding up her yellow skirts, possibly in order to tip-toe away from the game, or perhaps to cause a diversion. A small dog, meanwhile, is distracted by something outside the picture frame.

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