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The Seated Violinist

Accession Number
1992/2.18

Title
The Seated Violinist

Artist(s)
Cornelis Dusart

Object Creation Date
1685

Medium & Support
etching on laid paper

Dimensions
11 3/4 x 10 3/4 in. (29.69 x 27.15 cm);22 1/16 x 18 1/16 in. (56.04 x 45.88 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase made possible by the Friends of the Museum of Art

Label copy
Dusart's prints chiefly represent scenes of peasant life. His style was based on the robust images of his teacher Adriaen van Ostade and on the more biting scenes of Jan Steen. This print is one of about fifteen etchings that he made. The scene includes the usual activities that would be expected at an inn or tavern—drinking, smoking, making music, singing, laughing--as well as the quieter element of a mother busy with her child. Among the furnishings of this tavern interior is a curious detail—a large box hanging from a pulley both to conserve space and to protect its contents from vermin.The piece of paper attached to the mantelpiece is entitled "TUL-PAAN EN HYACINTH..." (tulips and hyacinths). This document is perhaps a flyer announcing flower bulbs for sale. Further, these words may refer to the craze for investing in tulip bulbs that had swept through Holland early in the seventeenth century, culminating in a market crash. Dusart thus may have meant to allude to the foolishness of such speculative ventures.Alternatively, the words "tulips and hyacinths" may refer to the group of men depicted in this scene. These carousing figures are reminiscent of Italian "commedia dell'arte" characters, and may represent a group of amateur actors, who gave themselves such names. The inscription below the images declares that rustics enjoy the pleasures to which they are entitled, and thus implies a positive attitude toward merrymaking.
Gallery Rotation Spring/Summer 2011
Cornelis Dusart
The Netherlands, 1660–1704
The Seated Violinist
1665
Etching
Museum purchase made possible by the Friends of the Museum of Art, 1992/2.18
Dusart was a student of Adriaen van Ostade (1610–1685), whose work is nearby, and shared his master’s preference for genre scenes of peasant life depicting humble folk dancing at festivals or enjoying themselves in a local tavern. In this work the scene is set in the large, rough timbered space of an inn or tavern where the men and women sing, dance, and drink. Whereas Ostade’s print of a similar subject has a large and expansive composition, Dusart presents a more circumscribed scene and focuses on the group of lively and boisterous figures in the foreground. The inscription at the bottom of the image translates as, “The rustic enjoys sincerely, not darkened by hypocrisy,” perhaps an ironic comment referring to contemporary Dutch moralists who criticized the pursuits of peasants while themselves indulging in drinking and carousing.

Subject matter
Dusart was a Dutch painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He was a student of Adriaen van Ostade (1610–1685) and shared his master’s preference for genre scenes of peasant life depicting humble folk dancing at festivals or enjoying themselves in a local tavern. In this work the scene is set in the large, rough timbered space of an inn or tavern where the men and women sing, dance, and drink.The inscription at the bottom of the image translates as, “The rustic enjoys sincerely, not darkened by hypocrisy,” perhaps an ironic comment referring to contemporary Dutch moralists who criticized the pursuits of peasants while themselves indulging in drinking and carousing.

Physical Description
This etching portrays a lively tavern scene in the 17th century Dutch Republic.The large room has rough plank walls and a stone floor. There is an open hearth on the right and a long table with a bench in the background. There are many figures engaged in various activities, but most are clustered around a seated man playing a violin. One man stands to watch, another, with arms upraised, is singing and a woman tends to a young child. The scene is depicted in great detail and there is lettering on the bottom of the print.

Primary Object Classification
Print

Primary Object Type
intaglio print

Additional Object Classification(s)
Print

Collection Area
Western

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
benches (furniture)
fireplaces
men (male humans)
violins

2 Related Resources

Sociability and Social Spaces
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Early Modern European Peasants
(Part of 10 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display