Feb 2, 2010

Two Bohemian Peasants in Half-Length

Two Bohemian Peasants in Half-Length

c. 1600

Roelant Savery

(Flemish, 1576–1639)

Pen and light- and dark-brown inks over preliminary drawing in black chalk

Support: Beige(1) laid paper

Sheet: 15.1 x 18.8 cm (5 15/16 x 7 3/8 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1945.114



These three drawings, which depict seated peasants at a market in the city and a team of horses led by a herder on horseback, are part of a group of approximately 80 observational drawings by Savery. His farmers, market vendors, and other everyday people are never posed and rarely glance at the viewer. Savery marked each drawing with detailed instructions regarding the colors to be used later and the words naer het leven (from the life). The works were made in Prague when Savery was employed at the court of the great patron and art collector Emperor Rudolf II, demonstrating that interest in peasant life extended even to the highest echelons of society.

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