TENIERS, David the Younger
(b. 1610, Antwerpen, d. 1690, Bruxelles)

Three Smokers and Drinkers in a Tavern Interior

1650s
Oil on oak panel, 42 x 36 cm
Private collection

This highly characteristic and well preserved picture by Teniers depicts one of the central themes of his genre pictures, the smoker. Introduced by Adriaen Brouwer, the subject of the smoker allowed artists the opportunity to explore fresh permutations of facial expressions in their art. In this picture Teniers takes obvious delight in doing this, using an overlapping perspectival system to guide us through the process, from inhalation, as exemplified by the foreground figure, through to exhalation before finally culminating in the figure in the background restocking his pipe to begin the process again.