- Reference number
- Rubens, Peter Paul (Flemish)
- Peasant Dance
- 73 cm x 106 cm
- Género y sociedad
- On display
- Colección Real (almoneda Rubens; Real Alcázar, Madrid, pieza en que comía el rey en verano, 1666; en 1686 y 1700 continuaba en el Alcázar; Palacio Real, Madrid, dormitorio de príncipes-habitación del infante don Carlos, 1814-1818, s. n.).
A group of peasants dance in agitated frenzy, accompanied by a flutist in a tree. The scene takes place in a landscape that recalls Italy, especially the villa in the background, whose shapes resemble those of the architect, Andrea Palladio. This work has sometimes been identified with a mythological subject, because of the bare-chested satyrs with ivy crowns and bells on their ankles, as well as the character dressed in snake skin, which may be an allusion to the god, Bacchus.
Rubens made this painting in the last years of his life, after his second marriage, and it is imbued with the strongly sensuous spirit that marks his works from that period.
Country scenes by Pieter Brueghel, “the Elder”, are the forerunners to this painting, but they are adapted by Ruben's eye. The composition is very dynamic and the artist masterfully captures the sensation of circular movement, which is reinforced by the presence of the dog that moves in parallel to the peasants.
This work belonged to Rubens until his death, when it was acquired by Felipe IV.