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Four Peasants in a Cellar
Style of Adriaen Brouwer
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Adriaen Brouwer worked in Antwerp from 1631. This painting used to be attributed to him, but is now believed to be by another, somewhat clumsier hand – perhaps one of his apprentices imitating his style. The picture is similar to those usually depicted by Brouwer: humorous everyday scenes of peasants drinking or, sometimes, brawling, such as Tavern Scene (also in the National Gallery’s collection).

In this example, however, the artist has set up a clear contrast between the three peasants lounging in the foreground – one asleep, one drinking, one smoking – and the vignette we can see through the open door. Here, three men are working hard, hoisting a heavy bale which is attached to a pulley suspended outside a house. The fourth peasant referred to in the title is hard to see, but appears to be a woman bent over her work in the shadows on the right.

Key facts
Artist Style of Adriaen Brouwer
Artist dates 1606? - 1638
Full title Four Peasants in a Cellar
Date made probably 1630s
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 27.7 x 22 cm
Acquisition credit Salting Bequest, 1910
Inventory number NG2569
Location in Gallery Not on display
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