Adriaen van de Venne, 'Farmers' fight'

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Oil on panel
Adriaen van de Venne
33.8 cm
50 cm

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A big man in a red sweater fell on his back, he already lost several teeth. On his right is a man with raised arms ready to beat him, but he is forced to stop by a man on his right side that puts a stick to his chest. On the left side stands a boy who clasps his hand in front of his face in shock from what he saw. Behind him are two wailing ladies.
The scene takes places on ground covered in straw, with a cooking pot and a snarling dog. In the right corner the artist wrote the words "AL-ARM" which means something like 'all poor', reffering to beggars in general. The words also referr to the French interjection " alarm", which means to arm.

This painting was made by the artist Adriaen van de Venne (1580-1662). He painted a lot of farmers and beggars misbehaving themselves, often as caricatures. In 1635 Van de Venne published  “Tafareel van de belacchende werelt”.  This publication counted two hundred pages and was a satire in verse and print on the barbarian behaviour of farmers and beggars. Van de Venne made his work for the high society, by watching primitive scenes they felt educated and civilized. The depictions were also a warning against the consequences of immoral behaviour.

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