Peasant at the window
1931/1932 - 27 Aug 1664
During his short career Bega produced an oeuvre of 34 etchings of low-life subjects which owe their inspiration to the etchings of his master Adrian van Ostade – the major exponent of the peasant genre in 17th-century Holland. These include several figure groups depicted in tavern interiors as well as a series of individual head or figure studies of peasants. The interior scenes are often set against richly hatched, dark backgrounds in front of which figures are dramatically lit.
A peasant is shown leaning on the sill of what appears to be an upper window and gazes down presumably at passers-by in the street. The subject-matter marks a move away from Bega’s slightly earlier peasants who were more strongly caricatured as crude, empty-headed individuals. The print probably derives from a painted version of the same subject by Van Ostade. 'Peasant at the window' is described by Duthuit as one of the finest prints in Bega’s oeuvre and probably dates to the mid 1650s. It is more carefully worked than his other single-figure studies. As in his interiors, the dark background of the room behind provides a foil against which the figure appears brightly lit. The print is known in two states of which the former omits the signature and the lower member of the window frame.
Le paysan à la fenêtre
etching and drypoint
ii of 2 states
9.2 x 8.6 cm trimmed to platemark; 36.3 x 31.0 x 2.9 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.l., [incised plate] "C. bega". Not dated.
The Estate of James O Fairfax AC
Not on display
Shown in 2 exhibitions
The James Fairfax collection of old masters, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Apr 1992–14 Jun 1992
The James Fairfax collection of old master paintings, drawings and prints, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Apr 2003–20 Jul 2003
Referenced in 2 publications
Art Gallery of New South Wales, The James Fairfax collection of old masters, Sydney, 1992, p .
Richard Beresford and Peter Raissis, The James Fairfax collection of old master paintings, drawings and prints, Sydney, 2003, p 21, no 3, illus p 20.