Flemish school. Follower of PIETER BRUEGHEL, 16th century.
Oil on panel.
Measurements: 46 x 38 cm .; 63 x 55 cm. (Frame).
The author of this painting must have belonged to the circle of the master Pieter Brueghel the Elder. By theme and style it is very close to the founder of the important dynasty of Dutch painters, the Brueghels. This is a popular celebration, a village festival. The peasants have climbed the mountain (the village can be seen in the distance) and dance in pairs or alone; even a woman dances with a dog. Some, exhausted from revelry and drinking, sleep soundly, lying on the grass. The meticulous and expressive drawing characterizing the characters and their vivid behaviors is combined with a freer brushstroke in the representation of the landscape, also splendid, working in different levels of depth, assuming bluish tones in the horizon. Brueghel made the same theme in a work of maturity, "The Peasant Dance" (preserved in the Museum of Art History in Vienna), but stylistically the present panel is more akin to Brueghel's early paintings, where the landscape was more prominent and the figures were less monumental than in his later work. In the present panel, the moralizing will is absent (or at least, it is very veiled), which is evident in many of Brueghel's paintings. Probably, the author's intention was merely to pay homage to the shared joy of the villagers on their feast days. The undeniable artistic quality is accompanied, in this type of painting, by a great anthropological value.