VENNE, Adriaen Pietersz. van de
(b. 1589, Delft, d. 1662, The Hague)

Al-Arm

1632
Oil on panel, 40 x 31 cm
Private collection

During his Middelburg period, Van de Venne painted colourful landscapes in the style of Jan Brueghel the Elder. After his move to The Hague in 1625, he abandoned this painting style in favour of monochrome representations in brown or grey tints. For these grauwtjes (as grisailles were called in the 17th century) Van de Venne mainly took his subjects from the lowest social classes. The moralizing nature of his representations is often clarified by a banderole containing a saying or a pointed pun, such as this scene of beggars fighting, entitled 'Al(l)-Arm'; this is more of a pun in Dutch, since the expression al-arm as well being a warning cry, could also mean 'entirely poor'.

An earlier version of this composition, signed and dated 1621, is in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.