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Title

Peasant at the window

mid 1650s


Artist

Cornelis Bega

Netherlands

1931/1932 - 27 Aug 1664


About

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.


Details


Alternative title

Le paysan à la fenêtre


Date

mid 1650s


Media category

Print


Materials used

etching and drypoint


Edition

ii of 2 states


Dimensions

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.


Credit

The Estate of James O Fairfax AC


Location

Not on display


Accession number

112.2019


Artist information

Cornelis Bega

Works in the collection

2


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 2 publications

Bibliography


Art Gallery of New South Wales, The James Fairfax collection of old masters, Sydney, 1992, p [1].

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.