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An Inn Interior with Peasants

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Sorgh, Hendrik Martensz., Inn Interior with Peasants
Photo Credit: 

Laura Shea 

On View
Sorgh, Hendrik Martensz.
Dutch (1609/11-1670)
Place made: 
Europe; Netherlands
An Inn Interior with Peasants, ca. 1641-1645
Oil on panel
Frame: 23 in x 29 1/4 in; 58.4 cm x 74.3 cm; Panel: 16 in x 22 5/8 in; 40.6 cm x 57.5 cm
Purchased through prior gift of the Trustees of the Carlyn H. Wohl Trust
MH 2012.13

The scene is a jumbled tavern filled with peasant revelers in various stages of inebriated contentment surrounded by the objects that made up everyday life in 17th-century Rotterdam. This work is a type of genre painting known as a “low-life” scene, which depicts the peasantry going about their daily lives. Within these images are themes of morality and vice (often touched-upon in a comedic manner) such as the overindulgence of alcohol, gambling, and the addictive properties of nicotine. Hendrik Martensz. Sorgh was a prolific painter during a century when growing demand from an emerging middle-class resulted in the production of more than five million works by Dutch artists.

-Aaron Miller, Associate Curator of Visual and Material Culture, Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (Sept. 2016)