This delicate painting on copper is distinguished by its intense colors and profusion of details and presents us with a banquet scene in the heart of a garden.
The work is attributed to Louis de Caullery, an Antwerp painter, specialist of gallant scenes, balls and banquets taking place in palaces, cities and gardens. In a park of the castle a gallant couple is feasting settled near the table generously garnished with refined dishes and around which the maid presents dishes. The richly dressed young man flirts with the beautiful courtesan who presents him with a precious chalice filled with wine. Their sumptuous costumes testify to the dress fashion of the beginning of the 17th century: the flap lace collar, the baggy breeches, the multi-colored feather hat for the gentleman; the open collar on a cleavage, the raised hair capped in a lady's miter. All is enjoyment and fun in the scene, yet in the background the story just darkened, the young man is chased with a broom and the young woman does not hesitate to pour him the chamber pot on the head. Thus at first sight a gallant scene is transformed into an allegorical scene, because it is indeed the parable of the Prodigal Son.
The composition is built in several episodes that take place simultaneously on the same table. Our gentleman, his full purse takes advantage of the grace of the beautiful young lady and is served the meal worthy of kings, but once his money dissipated, here it is chased and helpless, thrown into the street.
The painter through this banquet scene is anxious to pass the moralizing message to the discerning viewer and uses a parable to warn him against the dangers of earthly pleasures. The small format of the painting allows our painter to demonstrate his talents as a miniaturist, with incredible finesse and meticulousness, he strives to make all the elements of the composition particularly precise and realistic: the costumes, the dishes, the foliage of the rosebush , the magnificent perspective with the view of the castle and the green hill. The palette is composed of bright, vivid colors with various shades of green, yellow and red illuminated by delicate touches of light. The contrast thus created highlights innumerable details.
Our painting, with its composition rich in details, its elegant figures sumptuously dressed and delicately painted, is a marvelous testimony of customs, opulence and the art of living in Europe at the beginning of the 17th century.
Antwerp, attributed to Louis de Caullery, early 17th century.
The work is presented in a beautiful ebonized wood frame, with tortoiseshell veneer and tin marquetry.
Dimensions with frame: h. 30.5 cm, l. 33.5 cm
Louis de Caullery (Caullery, c. 1580 - Antwerp, 1621/22)
This Flemish master was born around 1580 in the Cambrai region. From 1593/1594 he became a pupil of the landscape painter Joos de Momper of Antwerp. A member of the Guild of St. Luke since 1604, Louis de Caullery seems to have been active in Flanders throughout his life although he has a great knowledge of different European cultures. It is mainly attributed to genre scenes: carnivals, banquets, parties, gardens of love populated with small characters.