Adriaen Brouwer, Peasant drinking © Michel Wuyts
With no fewer than 17 works, genre painter Adriaen Brouwer was especially well represented in Rubens’ collection.
Brouwer specialised in satirical tableaux featuring drinking and brawling peasants in tavern settings. In addition to their purely artistic qualities, these pictures served a social purpose, showing the wealthy townsmen who purchased them exactly how not to behave.
But Rubens was undoubtedly also fascinated by his younger colleague’s keen powers of observation as well as Brouwer’s free technique and use of colour. Although Brouwer died young (at the age of just 32), he proved to be highly influential. Other painters copied his work or chose the same subjects and tried to match his style.
Adriaen Brouwer (1605-1638)
oil on panel