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Oil on canvas
Framed: 111 x 142 x 8 cm (43 11/16 x 55 7/8 x 3 1/8 in.); Unframed: 92 x 121 cm (36 1/4 x 47 5/8 in.)
Gift of Mrs. Salmon P. Halle in memory of Salmon Portland Halle 1958.175
The mid-17th century saw revived interest in representations of the lower classes. Artists like the Le Nain brothers in France painted scenes that looked back to the Renaissance tradition of pastoral imagery. The Le Nain often depicted ordinary country folk going about their daily business, subjects and figures they remembered from their childhood in rural Laon. Considered a companion piece to Peasant Children Dancing (1958.175.2), Vintage Scene has also been attributed to the Master of the Béguins, a Flemish artist who worked in the manner of the Le Nain in Paris. Here, good-natured though bawdy males drink in the background shade, while at center a sweet-faced young woman surrounded by chubby children flashes the viewer a coy smile that reveals her awareness of the slowly creeping hand of her drunk companion. While peasants drinking was a popular subject among Flemish artists, the theme of wine connects the subject with the grape harvest, which recalls the Le Nain's agricultural homeland in France. This use of both aesthetic and biographical aspects of the Le Nain's lives demonstrates the Master of Béguins' ability to absorb the stylistic and thematic lessons of the famous brothers. --Hannah Segrave (October 2013)
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