LE NAIN brothers
(b. 1598/1610, Laon, d. Louis and Antoine: 1648, Mathieu: 1677, Paris)
Smokers in an Interior (detail)1643
Oil on canvas
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Each of the models appears to be a portrait, although it is difficult to explain why the sitters should have chosen to be depicted with such casualness. There is no clue to the possibility of a confraternity, although the curious emblems on the carpet on the table could be symbols of some secret society. The eerie quality of the picture is emphasized by the fall of the shadows on the faces and by the way in which the figures stare into space just like the peasants in other pictures and the seated figure on the right has all the appearance of being under the influence of some drug.