CLEVE, Marten van I
(b. ca. 1527, Antwerpen, d. ca, 1581, Antwerpen)

A Wedding Dance

Oil on oak panel, circular, diameter 33 cm
Private collection

Most of Van Cleve's numerous depictions of wedding dances follow a pattern devised and popularised by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, but this close composition of an intimate celebration dominated by the poised musician seems to be of Van Cleve's own invention. It is unusual in the emphasis given to the figure of the bagpiper leaning against the tree trunk as he alone squeezes out the tune to which the merry revellers dance.

The bagpiper, in the imposing position afforded to him by Van Cleve, is reminiscent of another in a print by Albrecht Dürer.