Adam de Coster

Man and Boy by Candlelight is a new, Caravaggesque acquisition for the Rubens House. It closely resembles in its style and execution the Denial of Peter by Gerard Seghers, a favourite of the museum’s visitors.

A man who is holding a burning candle looks at us sideways while the laughing youth next to him hands him a glass of wine. The painting is painted in the style of Caravaggio (1571-1610), whose work De Coster had probably seen in Rome. The fascinating chiaroscuro effects and the unpolished realism are typical of Caravaggio’s style.

Adam de Coster mainly became famous for his paintings of his night-time scenes with figures by candlelight. He is referred to as a “Pictor noctium”, i.e., a painter of the nights in an inscription on an engraved portrait. Rubens painted similar candlelight paintings.