Interior of an Inn with Four Figures of Peasants
David III Ryckaert, or David Ryckaert the Younger, came from a family of Flemish painters and was active in Antwerp. Influenced by Brouwer and David Teniers the Younger, he painted genre pictures of peasants that are often humorous. Compared to Brouwer, his works are more decorative and lighter in coloration. He is also overtly moralizing in his storytelling rather than detached and objective like Brouwer. Typical of Ryckaert's paintings of the 1640s, ours focuses on smoking and drinking, probable eroticism, with pissing or vomiting in the background, in sum low life behavior for urban elite patrons to disparage. Here a well-dressed young lady of ample bosom, mostly unlaced, is enjoying a smoke and a drink, and already looks glassy eyed while an amorous peasant with an enormous beer stein and pipe in hand eyes her intently. She is playing footsy with him. An older man in the shadows between them is leering, while a man in a hat leans against the back wall vomiting into the vat below. Ryckaert seems to be warning of the narcotic effects of drink and drug in combination leading to sexual temptation.
The ramshackle tavern has a print on the side wall. A broom, large earthenware jug, the man’s boots, and a stool with a black and white cat curled up on it are positioned across the foreground. The inn opens up to a landscape in the half-open door on the far right.
van Haute, Bernadette. David III Ryckaert. A Seventeenth Century Flemish Painter of Peasant Scenes. Turnhout, Belgium : Brepols, 1999. Pp. 89-90, cat. A37, fig. 37.