“A Barn Scene with a man courting a young woman, and several figures”
A young woman and a male companion are engaged in conversation. She is smoking a typical ‘Gouda’ clay pipe and holding a Berkemeyer glass in her right hand. A little white dog sits trustingly by the girl’s side. From a window at the top, an older lady observes the couple. Above her head an owl, the ancient symbol of wisdom. Could she be the girl’s mother, secretly observing what is going on? The presence of the dog indicates a form of trust and fidelity. Is the young man putting the young woman to a test of courtship? And might the dog indicate her being faithful and not giving in to his advances? To the right in the background is a group of merry peasants, in front of an open fireplace, possibly speculating about the outcome of the couple’s conversation.
– collection of the Duke of Orleans, 1798;
– private collection, United Kingdom;
– Felix & Charli Eyston, London, 1982;
– private collection,, The Netherlands;
– with Douwes Fine Art, Amsterdam, 2006;
– private collection, The Netherlands.
– Leeuwarden, Fries Museum, ‘Van Jan Steen tot Jan Sluijters, De smaak van Douwes’, from Nov.1998 until Feb.1999, cat.no.22, with ill.
this is most probably the painting described by John Smith in his Catalogue Raisonné, London 1831, Vol.III, under no.372, where the dimensions are incorrectly stated as square.