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Village Kitchen
Ostade, Adriaen van
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Ostade, Adriaen van

Haarlem, 1610 - Haarlem, 1685

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Village Kitchen

Ca. 1632. Oil on panel.
Not on display

This work belongs to the so-called peasant interiors, one of the new genres of painting that emerged and developed in Flanders and Holland in the early seventeenth century. In Houbraken and in early inventories they are described as een boertje (a little peasant) or as toeback rookerchen (tobacco smokers). The consolidation and appreciation of this genre was fostered by the satirical and moralising literature of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, which was in turn rooted in the Kerelslied or fourteenthcentury peasant ballads composed by the knights during the struggles with the peasants. However, the term kerel, which originally denoted the freeman peasant or villager, came to be used to describe the churl, an uncouth, boorish and coarse peasant whose behaviour, dominated by instincts and passions, contrasted with the rules of conduct of the new bourgeois class. This is the type of villager depicted in the peasant interiors that were acquired by the bourgeoisie as a source of entertainment or learning.

The scene is set inside a village kitchen. In the foreground, two men are sitting on the ground, one facing and the other with his back to the viewer, trying to feed a dog with a spoon. Two men and a woman by the fireplace look on in amusement. The glow from the fire casts a dramatic light on this group of people and on the back wall, leaving the foreground steeped in shadow and distancing the scene from the viewer. Although the figures and the boards of the fireplace are arranged diagonally towards the background, the scene lacks spatial depth. The characters and their surroundings are infused with light and colour. The paint, almost akin to watercolour, is applied in uneven brushstrokes: loose and flowing in the background and accessories, more detailed and impasto in the characters. The overall colouring is virtually monochrome, based on grey and white, with slight touches of pink and blue.

Of Adriaen van Ostade`s output, Village Kitchen, belong to a group of scenes which Schnackenburg (1970) identifies and dates at around 1632, considering them to precede the painter`s earliest dated work, Card Players, of 1633 (St Petersburg, The State Hermitage Museum). This would mean it belongs to the painter`s very earliest phase. All these scenes share identical stylistic characteristics: extreme compositional simplicity, lack of spatial depth, characters grouped at the centre of the composition in front of a wall that serves as background, accessories reduced to a minimum and a treatment of light and colour which Schnackenburg and other authors consider to be influenced by the biblical scenes Rembrandt painted from 1628 to 1630, although they lack the latter`s subtle tonal gradation. Unlike other scenes from the series, in Village Kitchen the wall occupies the whole of the background and the roof structure is not visible. This, together with the virtual absence of accessories, suggests it may be one of the earliest scenes of the series.

This is one of the few Dutch paintings in the 1828 catalogue, though it is attributed to Isaac van Ostade and placed in the German schools collection. It is also recorded as one of the Museum works selected for inclusion in the Colección litográfica de los cuadros del rey de España. In 1873, it is correctly ascribed to Adriaen van Ostade, and in the 1942 catalogue it is recorded as being signed. However, no signature is now visible (Posada Kubissa, T.: Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, 2009, p. 308).


Technical data

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Inventory number
Ostade, Adriaen van
Village Kitchen
Ca. 1632
Height: 23 cm; Width: 29 cm
Royal Collection (Collection of Isabel de Farnesio; Buenavista Palace, Madrid, 1766; Collection of Carlos III, Antón Rafael Mengs; Royal Palace, Madrid, 1772, 1794, 1814; Royal Palace of Aranjuez?; Prado Museum, before 1828).

Bibliography +

Kauffmann, Hans, Die fünf Sinne in der niederländischen Malerei des 17. Jahrhunderts, Kunstgeschichtliche Studien, 1942, pp. 133-157.

Bauch, Kurt, ''Die Wirkung von Rembrandt Frühstil'' en Der frühe Rembrandt und seine Zeit, Berlín, 1960, pp. 243.

Gerson, Horst, ''Rembrandt en de schilderkunst in Haarlem'' en Niscellanea I.Q. van Regteren Altena., Amsterdam, 1969.

Schnackenburg, Bernhard, Die Anfänge des Bauerninterieurs bei Adriaen van Ostade, Oud Holland, 1970, pp. 158-169.

Salas, Xavier de, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1972.

Valdivieso, Enrique, Pintura Holandesa del siglo XVII en españa, Universidad, Valladolid, 1973, pp. 328.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Catálogo de las pinturas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1985, pp. 477-478.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Museo del Prado. Inventario general de pinturas (I) La Colección Real, Museo del Prado, Espasa Calpe, Madrid, 1990.

Posada Kubissa, Teresa, Pintura holandesa en el Museo Nacional del Prado. Catálogo razonado, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, pp. 98-100.

Other inventories +

Inv. Real Museo, 1857. Núm. 1025.
Isaac van Ostade / 1025. Rusticos comiendo. / Un hombre esta sentado en una choza con dos muchachos que comen sopas detras de el. Otro rustico, con un puchero y una cuchara en la mano, hace lo mismo. Una muger esta calentandose a la lumbre (C.L.) (tabla.) / Alto 9 pies, 6 lin; ancho 1 pie, 6 lin.

Catálogo Museo del Prado, 1872-1907. Núm. 1513.
1513.-(1025-N.)- Rústicos comiendo.-Son dos hombres, dos muchachos y una mujer, la cual se calienta á la lumbre mientras aquellos observan como uno de los chicos da sopas á un perrillo.-C.L. / Alto 0,23; ancho.0.29.

Inv. Fernando VII, Palacio Nuevo, 1814-1818. Núm. 153-92.
Dos, tercia de largo quarta de alto rusticos fumando y bebiendo= Teniers.

Inv. Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1772. Núm. 92-153.
92-153 = Reyna Madre= Dos iguales en tabla al vna de vna muger con vn chiquillo y vn hombre con vn jarro en la mano y la otra dos figuras de hombre y vn muchacho de tercia de largo y quarta de caida original original de Braber.

Museo Real de Pinturas a la muerte de Fernando VII, 1834. Núm. fol.412.
Quinientos cuarenta y seis. Los Comedore de Sopa. En una choza esta un hombre sentado, de Ostade (Ysaac).

Inv. Testamentaría Carlos III, Palacio Nuevo, 1794. Núm. s/n.
Dos de tercia escasa de largo y quarta de alto unos rusticos un leyendo y otro riendo = y el segundo rusticos con jarros en las manos = Adrian Van Ostade = 3.000

Inscriptions +

Inscribed in orange. Front, lower left corner

111. 333
Inscribed. Back

Inscribed in pen and ink. Back

92 [¿4?]
Inscribed with chalk. Back

B. 33
Inscribed. Back, Upper area

CLXXX [Muy borroso]
Inscribed in pen and ink. Back

Inscribed in pen and ink. Back

Exhibitions +

Dutch Painters at the Prado
03.12.2009 - 11.04.2010

Update date: 12-07-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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