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Dutch Painting

The Bitter Draught

Adriaen Brouwer
c. 1635
Oil on wood, 47 x 35 cm.
Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt
The Bitter Draught, Adrien Brouwer

Adriaen, BROUWER
Oudenaarde 1632(?)–Antwerp 1638

There is no known record of Brouwer's birth or baptism: according to a tradition recorded in
1682 he was born at Oudenaarde and died in Antwerp aged 32. As the date of his burial is
known to have been February 1638, he was probably born about 1606, the same year as
Rembrandt. The places of his birth and death have usually caused Brouwer to be considered a
Flemish painter. However, the first certain record of him is in Amsterdam, in 1626, and in another record of the following year he is called a painter from Haarlem. All in all-and in view of both his style and his influence on later Dutch painters, in particular Jan Steen-it seems likely that he trained in Haarlem, some time between 1620 and 1624, and may have been a pupil of Frans Hals, making him, in everything except birth, a painter of the Dutch school. He did, however, become a master in the Antwerp Guild of St Luke in 1631/2. In 1633 he was imprisoned in the Kasteel in Antwerp, but it is not known why. According to Houbraken, he was imprisoned for suspected spying, only being released when Rubens came and identified him and guaranteed his character.

Christopher Wright, The Dutch Painters: 100 Seventeenth Century Masters, London, 1978

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