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Adri­aen van de Venne, Dutch, 1589-1662: Dancing Couple with Bagpiper and Onlookers, c. 1635-40 

Depic­tions of the lower class­es at fes­tive gath­er­ings had been pop­u­lar in Nether­lan­dish art since the six­teenth cen­tu­ry and found a ready mar­ket among col­lec­tors. In this live­ly draw­ing, painter, illus­tra­tor, and poet Adri­aen van de Venne por­trays a small group of rural vil­lagers at leisure. Accom­pa­nied by a bag­piper at the left, a man exu­ber­ant­ly lifts his danc­ing part­ner sev­er­al feet into the air as onlook­ers stare in aston­ish­ment. Van de Ven­ne’s dynam­ic and ener­getic linework per­fect­ly match­es the spir­it of his ani­mat­ed sub­ject mat­ter. Although the artist often used humor to con­vey moral lessons, the pur­pose of this draw­ing seems to be large­ly for the view­er’s entertainment.