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A Jeu de Paume Before a Country Palace
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Adriaen van de Venne
Dutch, 1614
Oil on panel
6 1/2 x 9 in.
83.PB.364.2

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Adriaen van de Venne captured the idle pleasures of courtship and leisure in this small painting. Lining a wide lane, an assortment of people watch a game of ball. To the left, a formal garden with flowers and sculptures is laid out in front of a large fantasy castle. In the left foreground, two lovers sit in shadow near an overturned lute and a pile of clothing discarded by the ballplayers. On the right is an enclosed forest area with goats and deer.

This painting and its companion, A Merry Company in an Arbor, were part of a series of four landscapes representing the seasons. This painting probably represents summer. Both paintings have a miniature and jewel-like quality, with similar colorful scenes of tiny, anecdotal figures out in the open.

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