Peasant Festival on a Town Street

Object Details

Title:

Peasant Festival on a Town Street

Artist/Maker(s):

Adriaen van Ostade (Dutch, 1610 - 1685)

Culture:

Dutch

Date:

1674

Medium:

Pen and ink over watercolor and gouache

Dimensions:

20.3 x 31.4 cm (8 x 12 3/8 in.)

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Neither moralist nor social critic, Adriaen van Ostade aimed only to capture the lively spirit of his peasant subjects' daily activities. He animated this scene with lively penwork but also exploited the potential of watercolor. His thin, translucent washes allowed the white of the paper to show through. In brilliant colors, they suffuse the whole street with luminous, airy sunlight. The vivid yet delicate pastel hues give the earthy subject matter an air of refinement that would have appealed to contemporary collectors.

Dutch taste for such finished drawings grew throughout the 1600s. By late in the century, draftsmen were creating highly finished, extensively colored compositions and selling these elaborate drawings as small paintings.

Van Ostade painted many peasant scenes, often repeating elements. This drawing's diagonal placement of space, the principal figure groups, the smoker seen from behind, and the man facing front with his leg extended frequently appear in other paintings and drawings.

Exhibitions
17th Century Dutch Drawings (July 21 to October 4, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 21 to October 4, 1992, (Cat.)
Dutch Drawings of the 16th and 17th Centuries (August 16 to October 23, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), August 16 to October 23, 1994, (Cat.)
Color in Drawing (March 10 to May 24, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 10 to May 24, 1998, (Cat.)
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.)
Paper Art: Finished Drawings in Holland 1590-1800 (September 6 to November 20, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 6 to November 20, 2005, (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.)
Recent Acquisitions in Context (June 25 to September 8, 2013)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 25 to September 8, 2013, (Cat.)