Interior of a Guardroom

Groups of men gamble, smoke, and drink in a dark guardroom. In the left foreground a seated man wearing a red sash lights his white clay pipe, while his companion pauses his smoking to listen to a man standing next to him. The red of the smoker's sash is repeated in the flag and fabrics strewn about in the right foreground, which form part of a still-life of weapons, musical instruments, and glinting armor heaped together against the wall. Between these brightly lit foreground vignettes the scene recedes into the darkened interior where a group of five men gather about a table to gamble.
David Teniers the Younger
This painting depicts with striking realism an imagined scene of civic guards at leisure. The realistic impression made by the painting depends in part upon the painstaking rendition of objects and details throughout the room: the ceramic jugs, a wooden table, a piece of crumpled paper, the dull glint of a lantern near the ceiling, and the tour-de-force still-life of military equipment all contribute to the painting's seeming veracity. The fact that the men are engaged in everyday activities of smoking, drinking, gambling and conversing contributes to the impression that we are looking upon an actual scene that Teniers simply transcribed with his brush.
Museum Purchase
Sunday, December 16, 2018