A Merry Company

Object Details

Title:

A Merry Company

Artist/Maker(s):

Jacob Jordaens (Flemish, 1593 - 1678)

Culture:

Flemish

Date:

about 1644

Medium:

Watercolor over black chalk, heightened with white gouache

Dimensions:

21.9 x 23.8 cm (8 5/8 x 9 3/8 in.)

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While enjoying the pleasant weather outside a tavern, this rowdy group of merrymakers finds added delight in wine, song, and women. Seated at the center of the table, a woman clutching her glass shrinks from the brazen advances of a drunken man. On the left, a man throws his arms in the air, abandoning himself to song and capturing the attention of a dog whose paws rest in his lap. Other singing men surround the table, accompanied by a bagpipe player in the rear. On the far left, an intoxicated fellow has knocked over the crockery and is vomiting.

Jacob Jordaens heavily worked this drawing with gouache and watercolor to create a rich finish that reflects the earthy humor of the subject. Using broken, angular lines and a delicate balance of light and shadow, Jordaens imbued his figures with movement and depth.

Jordaens's raucous scene may have served to illustrate a popular proverb of the 1600s: "Ill gained, ill spent." Like many Dutch artists of his time, Jordaens depicted moral sayings in many of his drawings and in a set of tapestry designs that was purchased by the governor of the Spanish Netherlands in 1647.

Exhibitions
Tentoonstelling Jacob Jordaens (July 27 to October 27, 1905)
  • Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, (Antwerp), July 27 to October 15, 1905, (Cat. 125)
Work and Play: Everyday Life in Drawings; 1520 - 1820 (July 31 to October 14, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 31 to October 14, 2001, (Cat.)
Visions of Grandeur: Drawing in the Baroque Age (June 1 to September 12, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 1 to September 12, 2004, (Cat.)
Made for Manufacture: Drawings for Sculpture and the Decorative Arts (February 6 to May 20, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 6 to May 20, 2007, (Cat.)
Ten Years of Drawings: What, How, and Why (January 29 to May 4, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), January 29 to May 4, 2008, (Cat.)
A Light Touch: Exploring Humor in Drawing (September 23 to December 7, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 23 to December 7, 2008, (Cat.)
Drawing in the Age of Rubens (October 14, 2014 to January 11, 2015)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 14, 2014 to January 11, 2015, (Cat.)
Bibliography

Tentoonstelling Jacob Jordaens / Exposition Jacob Jordaens, exh. cat. (Antwerp: Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, with Drukkerij van Os-de Wolf, 1905), p. 93, no. 125, ill.

Rooses, Max. Jordaens' Leven en Werken (Amsterdam: Uitgevers-Maatschappy Elsevier, 1906), pp. 57, 152, 186, 291, ill.

Rooses, Max. Jordaens: Sa vie et ses oeuvres (Paris: Ernest Flammarion, 1906?), pp. 57, 155, 283, ill.

Rooses, Max. Jacob Jordaens: His Life and Work. Elizabeth C. Broers, trans. (London: J. M. Dent & Co., 1908), pp. 56, 150, 183, 264, ill (as A Merry Meal).

D'Hulst, Roger-Adolf. De tekeningen van Jakob Jordaens: Bijdrage tot de geschiedenis van de XVIIe-eeuwse kunst in de zuidelijke Nederlanden (Brussels: Paleis der Academiën, 1956), pp. 236, 365-366, no. 108.

D'Hulst, Roger-Adolf. Jordaens Drawings. P. S. Falla, trans. 4 vols. (London and New York: Phaidon, 1974), vol. 1, pp. 281-282, no. A192.

D'Hulst, Roger-Adolf. Jordaens Drawings. P. S. Falla, trans. 4 vols. (London and New York: Phaidon, 1974), vol. 3, fig. 207.

Nelson, Kristi. Jacob Jordaens: Design for Tapestry (Turnhout: Brepols, 1998), p. 116.

Sotheby's, Amsterdam. Old Master Drawings. November 9, 1999, p. 37, lot 72, ill.

Agnew's, London. An Exhibition of Old Master Paintings and Drawings and English Paintings. June 8 - July 21, 2000, unpaginated, lot 50, ill.