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Seven pale-skinned people crowd around a wooden table to our right in this horizontal painting, as several more gather around a fire in a deeply shadowed room beyond, to our left. The room we are in has high ceilings and peanut-brown walls and floor. At the center of the composition, a man dressed in mustard yellow with a yellow and burnt-orange jester’s cap stands facing us. His smiling mouth is agape, and he lifts his left arm, to our right, to gesture toward the group at the table there. His feet are widely planted, and a ceramic jug dangles from his other hand. At the table to our right, one man sits at the front, left corner of the table, leaning back in his chair as he raises his black hat high in his right hand, closer to us. His face is tipped up and his mouth is wide open. Across from him is another young man in a blue-gray jacket who wears a paper crown. With the back of the wrist closer to us planted on his hip, he tilts back his head to drink from a tall tankard held in his other hand. One young and one older woman women sit smiling among the men. The younger woman wears a navy-blue dress with a white cap covering the back of her blond hair, and the older woman is in ocean blue with a white head covering. Two more men at the table also have their mouths open and wear earth-toned clothes. A man has poked his head through a small, squared opening high on the wall above the table to our right, to look down at the group. Over the the man in the jester's hat, a gray owl sits chained to a perch driven into the wood stud that frames the wall behind the group. Bits of paper are scattered on the floor and two terracotta jugs sit gleaming in the lower right corner. A tawny cat peers out from behind the drinker’s seat. A dog with sable-brown fur lies near a low table in the lower left corner of the painting. A shallow, terracotta dish with short feet sits on the table and a brown ceramic jug, oyster shells, and a few stalks of straw sit near the dog and table. In the dimly lit room beyond this one, a man, woman, and four children gather around a fireplace. The woman holds a long-handled griddle over the flame, and she turns to look back over her shoulder. The artist signed and dated the work as if he had written on the front edge of the low table to our left: “D. TENIERS F 1635.”

David Teniers the Younger, Peasants Celebrating Twelfth Night, 1635, oil on panel, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund, 1972.10.1

David Teniers the Younger, 1610–1690

Focus: The Collection

  • Monday, January 20, 2020
  • 1:00 p.m.
  • West Building, Main Floor - Rotunda
  • In-person