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Title A Man Smoking a Pipe
Collection Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle
Artist Haften, Nicolas van (Dutch painter, 1663-1715)
Date Earliest possibly about 1680
Date Latest 1715
Signed yes
Description The pensive attitude of the young man sitting smoking his pipe differs from the rowdy tone characteristic of Dutch tavern scenes. In Nicolas van Haften's picture, this popular subject receives a more restrained treatment. Netherlandish depictions of peasant life have been interpreted as conveying a moralising or satirical content. This added meaning would not have prevented viewers from enjoying them also as humorous or realistic images of everyday life. Haften's painting can be connected with contemporary emblems where the figure of the smoker assumes a 'vanitas' significance. His tobacco smoke becomes a symbol of life slipping away.
Current Accession Number B.M.587
Former Accession Number No. 263
Inscription front lr 'N. V. HAFTEN'
Subject everyday life; figure; allegory (vanitas)
Measurements 20 x 14.5 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by the founders John and Joséphine Bowes 1885.
Notes Christopher Brown has associated seventeenth-century Dutch depictions of smokers, such as those by Nicolas van Haften and Arent Diepram, with the Dutch emblematic culture. Hendrick Bary's engraving The Smoker includes a verse that reads 'When I smoke verinis cut up fine, I think to myself all the time, so the world flies away'. See Brown, C., Images of a Golden Age. Dutch genre painting of the seventeenth century, New York, 1984, pp. 47-48.
Rights Owner The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
Author Dr Mercedes Cerón




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