Animated scenes of carousing in village inns and brothels were enjoyed by 16th-century collectors of paintings in the Netherlands as amusing evidence of the instincts of peasants. The motifs, including a drunk balancing unsteadily on his head, suggest that the scene is to be read in a moralizing way: excess leads to foolishness. It is intriguing then that Joachim Beukelaer inserted his signature and the date October 26, 1562, among the chalk marks on the mantelpiece, tallies of drinks consumed. Beuckelaer, working in Flanders, was one of the great contributors to this new interest in rural life along with Pieter Bruegel the elder. Gradually artists turned ttheir eyes to the misbehavior of the more moneyed classes as well and the universal capacity for foolishness becomes the target.Beuckelaer was one of the great contributors to this new interest. This is one of Beuckelaer's small-scale paintings that is deeply indebted to the paintings of an earlier Antwerp painter, whose monogram has resisted reading and is known as the Braunschweig Monogrammist (by association with the location of his best known painting) as his 1537 Brothel in the Gemäldegalerie Berlin.
- H: 10 1/2 x W: 14 in. (26.6 x 35.5 cm)
- oil on panel
- Courtesy of the Walters Art Museum
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