(b. 1588, Deventer, d. 1629, Utrecht)

Boy Lighting a Pipe from a Candle

Oil on canvas, 68 x 56 cm
István Dobó Museum, Eger

A pleasant-looking young soldier from the military barracks, sword on arm, is lighting his pipe from a candle which he has lifted out of the sconce in front of him. Two bright spheres of light are thrown over his face and shirt. The subject chosen by the artist is so simple, and at first sight so unambitious, that a contemporary viewer accustomed to formulas may well have sought for some abstruse meaning hidden beneath the apparent slightness of the theme. But the work demands no interpretation, only an appreciation of the episode depicted, and this simplicity is of pioneer significance in the development of genre painting. We learn from this picture that in Dutch genre it was not only everyday objects that came to be acceptable as subjects for paintings but also the unconscious and instinctive actions of men and women.

Terbrugghen was a Dutch follower of Caravaggio and this is manifested by this painting, too.