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The Dance in the Inn

During the seventeenth century, a sub-category of genre imagery emerged (particularly in Haarlem) that focused on the “merry company.” This type of imagery generally involved multi-generations in a festive setting, as seen in this print. The tree behind the fiddler and the branch on the floor suggest that it may depict a May Day celebration. Despite the revelry, these images usually include a moral lesson warning of overindulgence. In this example, figures engage in the sinful activities of drinking, smoking, dancing, and lovemaking.

Adriaen van Ostade
Dutch, 1610–1685
The Dance in the Inn
1652
Etching on paper
Image: 10 x 12 5/8 in. (25.4 x 32.1 cm); sheet: 10 1/2 x 13 1/8 in. (26.7 x 33.3 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 75.15.4