Dutch Golden Age painter Adriaen Brouwer might not be a household name like Johannes Vermeer or Pieter de Hooch, nor have his works gained the popularity as that of a Gerard van Honthorst or a Salomon van Ruysdael, but his output possesses a certain candid grittiness rarely captured in the work of his contemporaries.
Typical of Dutch genre paintings, Brouwer's work depicts people engaged in various worldly activities, including drinking, gambling, fighting, ect., but his small, intimate canvas feel like snapshots from a debaucherous party. There's something unflinching and authentic in how he portrayed his subjects. Furthermore, his paintings are refreshingly absent of the petty moralizing one typically encounters in such work. I don't feel as if his they were created with ambitions of functioning as high art but rather as keepsakes to amuse his drinking buddies. Prints of his paintings would make for appropriate decoration at your local dive bar.
As an introduction to his work, today I'm offering his The Smokers.
As a man whose art reflected his own leisurely pursuits, Brouwer lived a turbulent life and died around the young age of 33.