TENIERS, David the Younger
(b. 1610, Antwerpen, d. 1690, Bruxelles)
Smoker Leaning his Elbow on a Table1643
Oil on canvas, 39 x 31 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
The subject of smokers was introduced into Flemish art by Adriaen Brouwer, who settled in Antwerp in 1631. Originally a novelty in specialised seaport taverns in the early years of the 17th century, the habit of smoking spread rapidly through the Low Countries, but it was not until much later that it shed its associations of disrepute. The subject was eagerly adopted by the young Teniers, and soon became one of the central themes of his genre paintings set in taverns and other interiors.