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David Teniers

Antwerp 1610 – Brussels 1690

Alongside Adriaen Brouwer, David Teniers is one of the greatest Flemish genre painters of the 17th century. His village scenes served as models for tapestries in the 17th and 18th centuries. Dean of the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke in 1645, he moved to Brussels in 1651 where Archduke Leopold Wilhelm nominated him court painter and administrator of his collection. His first genre scenes reveal the influence of Adriaen Brouwer; in the beginning, he painted landscapes in the style of Jan Brueghel and Paul Bril. He then acquired a personal style that combined light tones and warms colours. He broadened his range of themes and besides rustic scenes, he made paintings featuring magicians, witches, doctors and alchemists.

His characters are sometimes portrayed by costumed monkeys or cats. Teniers also drew inspiration from religious, mythological and literary subjects: he painted allegories and contemporary events as well as portraits. As regards the genre scenes, Teniers considerably extended Brouwer’s repertoire, increasing the number of village feasts and other popular festivities. And it is through paintings such as “The peasants feast” in the Prado in Madrid, “Drinker at a table” in the Louvre, or “Smoking” in the Petit Palais museum that the art of this great painter exults.