National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Workmen before an Inn Isack van Ostade (artist)
Dutch, 1621 - 1649
Workmen before an Inn, 1645
oil on panel
overall: 66 x 58.4 cm (26 x 23 in.) framed: 94.9 x 86.7 x 7 cm (37 3/8 x 34 1/8 x 2 3/4 in.)
Gift of Richard A. and Lee G. Kirstein, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art
1991.64.1
On View
From the Tour: Dutch Still Lifes and Landscapes of the 1600s
Object 8 of 8

Tavern drinkers and idlers frequently appear in Dutch genre scenes of daily life, but depictions of workers restocking an inn are very unusual. Two laborers here are yoked together to haul beer kegs off a sledge. Their overworked, underfed horse bears the scars of a hard existence. At the cellar door a small boy carries a jug of ale, while the street teems with beggars, peddlers, and fighting dogs.

Like one other Isack van Ostade painting, The Halt at the Inn, this picture may suggest conflicting values represented by the tavern and the church. In both scenes, church steeples rise over the villages. Here, moreover, the inn's chimney supports a stork's nest, a traditional sign of good luck.

Isack was trained in Haarlem by his older brother Adriaen van Ostade, whose Cottage Dooryard reveals similar textures such as ivy climbing on crumbling brick.

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