Village barbershop (c.1631) by Adriaen Brouwer

Village barbershop - Adriaen Brouwer - c.1631

Artwork Information

TitleVillage barbershop
ArtistAdriaen Brouwer
Datec.1631
Mediumoil,wood
Dimensions31.4 x 39.6 cm
Art MovementBaroque
Current LocationAlte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany
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About Village barbershop

The artwork titled “Village Barbershop,” created by Adriaen Brouwer circa 1631, is an exemplar of the Baroque period’s genre painting. The medium used is oil on wood, and the artwork measures 31.4 x 39.6 cm. Currently, this painting is housed at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, Germany, where it continues to represent the rich traditions of Baroque art.

In the artwork, an interior scene of a rustic barbershop is depicted with a dense, tactile quality characteristic of Brouwer’s work. The central focus appears to be an elderly barber who is intently engaged in shaving or cutting the hair of a client, who is seated with his back bent forward, wearing a red cap. The client’s facial expression suggests a mix of discomfort and resignation, common in depictions of such intimate daily activities.

Surrounding figures enhance the narrative, including a woman with a basket, looking on from the background, possibly waiting her turn or merely an observer. Towards the back, another individual receives attention from a second barber, creating a sense of depth and ongoing activity within the scene. Various objects strategically placed throughout the composition—a broom, pots, a bowl, skulls, and candles—contribute to the rich domestic atmosphere and underscore the quotidian reality of the setting.

The painting’s use of light, shadow, and earthy tones emphasizes the realism and human element of the scene, inviting viewers to ponder the social dynamics and customs of 17th-century village life. Brouwer’s skill in capturing candid moments of daily life is evident, making “Village Barbershop” a significant work from his oeuvre, and a captivating glimpse into the past.

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