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Isack van Ostade, The Interior of a Barn with Two Peasants

Key facts
Full title The Interior of a Barn with Two Peasants
Artist Isack van Ostade
Artist dates 1621 - 1649
Date made about 1645
Medium and support Oil on oak
Dimensions 30.2 × 40.2 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by the Misses Rachel F. and Jean I. Alexander; entered the Collection, 1972
Inventory number NG6404
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Interior of a Barn with Two Peasants
Isack van Ostade

Light spills in through a window high up on the towering wall of the barn. It picks out a sturdy woman with her sleeves rolled up, her arms in a tub – she’s perhaps washing clothes. Around her, discarded articles – an earthenware jar, a wicker basket, some colourful rags – are heaped up among bales of straw. The window does little to illuminate the rest of the vast space, leaving another figure almost lost in the shadows, crouching over a tiny fire in the background.

This is an early work of Isack van Ostade, painted while he was still working alongside his older brother and teacher, Adriaen, who also painted scenes of peasant life. Isack later produced atmospheric and intricately detailed winter scenes, but he died young, before he could fulfil his potential.

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