David Teniers II
(Antwerpen, 1610-1690, Brüssel)
The Kermis, 1646
Oil on canvas on panel, 57 x 79 cm
Signed lower left: David Teniers fecit; dated on the flag to the right: 1646

The scene is the yard of an inn outside a village. A piper performs beneath the tree. To be sure, only five villagers are inclined to dance. The others devote themselves to the pleasures of the table: Right foreground, bread and ham are consumed; right rear, there is tippling; other drinkers and smokers stand about. At the left, men and women are taking home three victims of over-indulgence. At the side two men are relieving themselves. Nothing human is alien to this little world. A light, summery greyish-brown tone suffuses the picture; the clothes are varicoloured but subdued. The painting is fluid and precise; precise also is the humorous characterization of different types. Left foreground, glazed earthenware dishes and a kettle form a sparkling still life. The first and last attempt to count Teniers’ works was made in 1831. Since then the vast number of pictures bearing his name rightly or wrongly seems to have scared away even the most industrious researchers. But only a comprehensive new effort to study Teniers could establish the canon of the works, his ranking as a painter and his influence on his contemporaries and followers.