Satyr and Peasant (c. 1620-21) by Jacob Jordaens

Satyr and Peasant - Jacob Jordaens - 1620

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Artwork Information

TitleSatyr and Peasant
ArtistJacob Jordaens
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions194.5 x 203.5 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationAlte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany

About Satyr and Peasant

The artwork “Satyr and Peasant” is an oil on canvas masterpiece by the artist Jacob Jordaens, executed in the year 1620. This work embodies the Baroque art movement, known for its dramatic, vivid, and expressive style. The dimensions of the artwork are significant, measuring 194.5 by 203.5 centimeters. It falls under the genre of literary painting and is currently housed in the Alte Pinakothek, located in Munich, Germany, adding to the collection of the museum’s historical paintings.

The artwork depicts a robust and engaging scene featuring a satyr, which is a mythological creature characterized by its human upper body and animalistic lower limbs, commonly those of a goat. The satyr is seen engaging jovially with a peasant family during a meal. Central to the composition is the interaction between the satyr, who is gesturing with a raised right hand, and the peasant who sits before him, turned slightly away as if in conversation or response to the satyr’s actions. The scene is infused with a sense of lively interaction which is typical for Jordaens’s style.

The peasant, dressed in a richly hued red garment, offers a stark contrast to the earthy tones of the satyr’s partially undraped form. A child looks on with apparent curiosity, capturing the innocence and intrigue of youth in the face of such a unique encounter. The household setting is further animated by the presence of various animals, including a cow, a dog, and a cat, which contribute to a sense of domestic chaos and rustic charm.

Complex emotions and expressions are rendered in fine detail, capturing the essence of Baroque realism and humanistic portrayal. The use of chiaroscuro, a technique where light and dark shades are contrasted, adds depth and dimension to the figures, imbuing the scene with a textured, dynamic atmosphere.

The depicted narrative seems to draw from classical or folkloric sources, likely tapping into themes of morality or mythical parables which were common in the art and literature of the period, engaging the viewer in a dialogue with cultural and historical references. Jordaens’ work here is a testament to the rich storytelling tradition of Baroque painting, intricately weaving narrative, emotion, and artistic craft into a singular visual experience.

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