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Beer In Art #21: Jan Miense Molenaer’s Man With Glass Of Beer

Today’s work of art is another old painting, from the 17th century. It’s by Jan Miense Molenaer, a Dutch painter who lived from around 1610-1668. He’s mostly known for his portraits, usually depicting everyday life, though he did still life work, too. He was a student of the more well-known Frans Hals, considered a Golden Age Dutch painter.

Here’s a short biography, from

Dutch painter, active in his native Haarlem and in Amsterdam, where he moved in 1636 after marrying Judith Leyster; both belonged in their youth to the circle of Frans Hals. He and his wife probably collaborated and sometimes it is difficult to differentiate their work. Molenaer, however, was more prolific and more versatile. His genre scenes range from pictures of the indecorous activities of peasants to exquisitely finished interiors showing well-to-do families. He also painted portraits and religious scenes. His early works (which are considered his best) have a grey-blond tonality and touches of bright colour; his later ones are darker, in the manner of Brouwer or Ostade. He had two painter brothers, Bartholomaeus (d. 1650) and Claes (d. 1676), both active in Haarlem.

The painting below is called Man With Glass Of Beer, and, oddly enough, is up for auction on the Italian eBay through the Gallery Duval. Opening bid is just under $3,000.

Here is the description of Man With Glass Of Beer from the auction:

The painting is signed with a monogram “JM” for Jan Miense Molenaer (ca.1610-1668), a well-listed Dutch Baroque Era painter of genre subjects. He shared a studio with his wife, Judith Leyster, also a genre painter, portraitist and painter of still-life. Both Molenaer and Leyster may have been pupils of Frans Hals.His style is similar to that of Dutch genre painter, Adriaen van Ostade. His works often depicted players of music, taverns, card players, scenes of games. He also depicted biblical stories.

The painting is from the 17th century.

The painting is a genuine oil painting on wood.

Size without frame:
The picture is 22 cm /8,6 inches high and 17 cm /6,6 inches wide.
The frame itself is 5 cm /2 inches wide.

Auction record:
A painting by Jan Miense Molenaer was sold at Christie’s, New York NY on the 16th January 1992 for $ 260,000.

Here you are offered a fine early 17th century oil painting of museum quality featuring a seated peasant man in a blue jacket, red trousers and a red hat, shown against a dark background. He is amused and coarsely smiling while raising a full glass of beer. On a plinth beside him stands a glistening ceramic pitcher. The work is marked by naturalistic precision in rendering the male figure captured in a dynamic and emotional gesture, excellent handling of colour and virtuoso effects of light and shadow.

This is perhaps his most beer-centirc work, though because he painted scenes from everyday life, many of his paintings involve drinking since it, too, was a part of everyday life in 17th century Holland. Here are a few more of his paintings that featured beer in them.


Drinking Peasants
Unknown date
Oil on panel, 62 x 79 cm
Private collection


Amorous Couple in an Inn
Oil on panel, 50 x 39 cm
Private collection


The King Drinks
Oil on panel, 42 x 55 cm
The Collection of the Prince of Lichtenstein, Vaduz


Peasants in the Tavern
Unknown date
Oil on wood, 30,3 x 24,6 cm
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

If you want to learn more about the artist, Wikipedia, the Artnet or the ArtCyclopedia are all good places to start. And to see more of his work, check of the Web Gallery of Art.


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