The Old Man and the MaidCa. 1650. Oil on canvas, 55 x 90 cm.
The story of an old man who tries to seduce a servant girl was customary in Flemish art and literature as a representation of senile love and as a criticism of behavior inappropriate for old age. Here, Teniers, who depicted this subject on various occasions, sets the scene in a stable, where a young woman is busy with her work when she is approached by the old man. The depiction of innumerable objects and fruit on the left is an example of Teniers' capacity to paint still lifes. The highly colorful objects and cloths, and the forceful use of light, which floods into the foreground, differentiate this work from his early indoor scenes. Still, he continues to use traditional elements, like the figure looking in the window, who here appears to be denouncing the decrepit seducer's inappropriate behavior. This work is listed at Madrid's Royal Palace in 1794, and may be the one on this subject that belonged to the Marquis of La Ensenada, a part of whose collection later went to Carlos III.