This week’s work of art is by the Flemish artist Adriaen Brouwer, who was a part of the Baroque movement and lived from 1605-1638. He was especially known for his genre works and painted scenes of everyday life, which were very popular during his lifetime. According to Wikipedia; “Tradition has it that Brouwer himself spent much time in the alehouses of Flanders and Holland. His works are typically detailed and small, and often adopt themes of debauchery, drunkenness and foolishness in order to explore human emotions, expressions and responses to pain, fear and the senses.” One well known painting of Brouwer’s, In the Tavern, done in the last year of his life, 1638.
Referred to by one art critic as “a particularly picturesque scene,” he describes the painting:
Adriaen Brower has portrayed a group of individuals seated at a table. An innkeeper is serving them. The style is remarkably direct. The figures are in various positions, notably the figure in the middle who is raising his glass of beer with gusto. The artist has paid careful attention to his details: the remains of a meal on the table; the knife sticking out of the belt of the figure with his back to the viewer; and the carefully executed jug in the foreground.
While I like it, I think my favorite is one that’s known by various titles: The Bitter Drunk, the Bitter Draught, the Bitter Tonic, and the Bitter Potion. Painted in 1635, some accounts say it depicts a man having just taken some disagreeable medicine, while based on the titles, others believe simply strong, bitter beer. But I just love the expression on his face. Who among us hasn’t seen a bad drunk with that expression?
Yet another is known as Seated Drinkers, though its date is uncertain.
Another is Peasants Smoking and Drinking, painted in 1635.
And finally, Village Scene with Men Drinking, painted between 1631-35.
You can read more about Brouwer at his Wikipedia page and his biography at the Web Gallery. There’s another biography at Art Table, and also a small gallery of more of his work. You can see yet more of Brouwer’s paintings at the Web Gallery of Art, Olga’s Gallery, Wikimedia and ArtCyclopedia.