HALS, Harmen
(b. 1611, Haarlem, d. 1669, Haarlem)

Peasants at a Wedding Feast

Oil on oak, 58,6 x 91,5 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Harmen was the son of Frans Hals. He frequently painted the amusements of the humbler classes, like in this picture. The puppet-like figures and the scene itself recall the work of Frans Hals, but this painting is more like a simplified version of one of the father's pictures, and the vigour characteristic of the latter is lacking in the work of his son.

In the painting the drunken stupor of the figures in the foreground contrasts with the reeling movements of the figures still dancing in the background. The peasants are seen as ludicrous and insensitive creatures, capable only of the coarse amusements of the drunk.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 26 minutes):
Johann Sebastian Bach: Cantata BWV 212 (Bauernkantate)