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FERDINAND VAN KESSEL

Singerie: village fete and dance in front of an inn

Copper: 34 x 40 cm

introduction

Once again, the painter has chosen to employ a satirical tone to relate the failings of the society of his era. To achieve this, he replaces human beings with monkeys, a symbol of stupidity and moral decline. Just like the singeries of Brueghel the Younger or Teniers, this painting stands out through the range of soft and sparkling colours, almost caricatured contours and colours applied in a thoroughly modern manner. Here, Kessel has created a painting that is both burlesque and mischievous, which subtly stigmatises the society of that time by adopting the key themes of his day, such as the traditional village fete in front of an inn.

Indeed, our scene takes place in a landscape typical of the flat country, where villagers would come together to celebrate, dance, drink and make merry. Laid out in front of the inn, a table of joyful cronies observe the dance steps of several enthusiasts who are jigging to the sound of bagpipes. A market gardener sells his recently-harvested fruit in front of them, while behind the inn, a fight is about to break out among the tipsy revellers.

Once a favourite in the finest cabinets of paintings, singeries continue to delight both lovers of comical popular images and purists of the Flemish tradition. In this good-sized painting combining social anecdote, moral satire and an undeniable aesthetic quality, this singerie is worthy of one of the greatest masters of the genre.


Provenance :
Private collection.