We head to Florence for the thirty-second edition of the Biennale Internazionale dell’Antiquariato di Firenze – BIAF. The fair happens inside the exquisite Baroque Palazzo Corsini, on the banks of the river Arno.
We are delighted that the centrepiece of our stand will be the Wedding Dance Outside, painted by Pieter Brueghel the Younger in 1612. What a glorious and joyful painting it is. You can see the peasant women’s skirts and purses swing as they do the farandole, and you can almost hear the sound of the men’s shoes as they stamp on the ground. The bride is not dancing: she sits demurely in the centre of the background, beneath a cloth of honour and a hanging crown.
The groom, meanwhile, is not immediately identifiable at all. He may be the man in the cream-coloured suit, carousing in the foreground. Interestingly, his pose is an exact mirror-image copy of a prominent figure in Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Wedding Dance, painted around 1566 (and now in the Detroit Institute of Arts). Certainly the younger Pieter looked at his father’s work, and thought that the dynamism of that particular figure could not be bettered.