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

Armoe' Soeckt List ("Poverty Leads to Cunning")

Oil on panel, 37 x 31 cm
Private collection

Originally this panel formed part of a series of paintings consisting of five consecutive scenes, each accompanied by a saying (Poverty leads to Cunning; Cunning leads to Wealth; Wealth leads to Luxury; Luxury leads to Misery; and Misery leads to Death). Each scene shows two main figures walking, dancing or stumbling through a sketchily rendered landscape. In Poverty leads to Cunning they are two old, blind musicians, the man playing a hurdy-gurdy and the woman a rommelpot. The inscription is written on a curling banderole lying on the ground.

These monochrome oil paintings on panel are universally referred to as grisailles although in this case it is actually in shades of brown (brunaille).