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

"What Won't People Do for Money!"

Oil on oak, 34 x 53 cm
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

Van de Venne's style was related to Pieter Brughel the Elder. He made grisailles of the destitute and maimed which have a moralizing character. However, paintings of the high life of elegant young men and their fashionable women companions - the so-called "merry company" pictures - were much more popular than those showing the predicament of the poor.

The scene, which is no longer easy to define, ridicules greed for money, a favourite theme of this artist and one which he used in a number of paintings. The saying is simply portrayed, with no attempt to point the moral beyond what is implicit in the scene itself, which is depicted with all the jovial familiarity characteristic of the genre.