About this artwork

Characteristic of Teniers’s early genre paintings, this work depicts ‘boors’ revelling in a tavern. A group of peasants gather around a small table and are engaged in drinking and smoking pipes. Such scenes of crude behaviour were popular among those wealthy enough to buy paintings. They had a moralising implication, and were enjoyed by wealthy patrons who compared their own behaviour to that of the uncouth peasants, thereby gauging their own superior principles and moral wellbeing. The figures often displayed readable unscrupulous gestures, for example, the man standing smoking has his left hand (traditionally the sinister hand) concealed in his coat, and his hat pulled down over his eyes to denote his untrustworthiness.

David Teniers, the Younger

David Teniers, the Younger