Cornelis-Pietersz Bega

The Smoker (Le Fumeur), c.1650
2.50 x 2.25 in
SKU: 9759g
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'The Smoker (Le Fumeur)' is an original etching by the celebrated Dutch painter and printmaker Cornelis-Pietersz Bega. It presents a genre scene of the type Bega was best known for: Bega's principal subjects were genre representations of taverns, domestic interiors and villages. He depicted nursing mothers, prostitutes, drunks, gamblers and fools such as quack doctors and alchemists. In this case, he shows a man seated on a chair with his foot on a flat stool and holding a smoking pipe. For Bega, this representation was more of a caricature than it was an image of a specific person, and such genre scenes would have held allegorical and symbolic meaning for the seventeenth-century viewer. During the seventeenth century, the Dutch of all levels of society consumed tobacco and alcohol, and these were an important part of the Dutch economy and a major source of wealth. At the same time, however, moralists and ministers sought to curb intoxication: they openly described drinking and smoking as sinful, immoral, and a general threat to one’s reputation. This paradox is reflected in prints such as this, which inherently carry the national pride of the Dutch economy alongside a moral warning in a print that could be just as easily consumed and collected.

2.5 x 2.25 inches, print
12.38 x 10.38 inches, frame
Framed to conservation standards using archival materials including 100 percent rag matting and mounting materials. Housed in a gold finish Spanish-style wood moulding.
Overall good and stable condition; margins cut to plate; some wrinkling in the corners from previous mounting; housed in a new custom frame.