David Ryckaert III, who was born into a famous artistic family, remained in Antwerp all his life.
Our painting must date from the period 1640 – 1645. It shows, after a Flemish saying, how children copy their parents behaviour, be it good or bad: here in drinking and smoking.
About David Ryckaert III
Antwerp 1612 – 1661 Antwerp
Versatile genre scene painter.
Ryckaert was born into an artistic family :
- his grandfather, David I, was a painter;
- his uncle was the famous landscape painter Maerten Ryckaert;
- his father, David II, who was his teacher, was a landscape painter;
- finally his brother-in-law was Gonzales Coques, who specialized in genre-like portraits.
David Ryckaert III worked during his complete career in his birthplace Antwerp.
He was Dean of the Painter's Guild of Antwerp in the year 1652-1653.
He was a very successful painter: one of his patrons was Archduke Leopold William, governor of the Spanish Netherlands from 1646 until 1656; he owned many of his pictures.
Ryckaert’s artistic development can be followed from 1637 to 1661.
Until 1650 his main subject were rustic peasant scenes, influenced by Adriaen Brouwer and by David Teniers II.
Under the influence of Gonzales Coques and others, from about 1650, Ryckaert increasingly depicted high-life scenes, predominantly musical companies.
Ryckaert died at a relatively young age, not even reaching the age of fifty. He was married and the couple had eight children.
Most of the mayor museums have paintings by David Ryckaert III: the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam, the Pitti Museum in Florence, the Prado in Madrid, the Metropolitan Museum of New York, the Louvre in Paris or Fine Art Museums in Antwerp, Brussels, Berlin and Dresden.
About the subject of our painting
Our painting represents a Flemish saying: “As the old ones sing, so the young ones pipe” (“Zoals de ouden zongen, piepen de jongen”). It means that children copy the behaviour, good or bad, of their parents. The most famous and largest representations of such a family scenes were portrayed by another Baroque painter from Antwerp, Jacob Jordaens (1593 – 1678). In Holland Jan Steen (1625/26 – 1679) regularly turned to this subject. Our David Ryckaert III also painted several versions of this saying, spread over his active career. The eldest representation by Jacob Jordaens of “as the old ones sing, …” dates from 1638: it is the painting from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Ryckaert is thought to have first started painting this subject around the same period: 1638/39.
The word “piepen”, actually means to chirp, referring to the noise that young chicks produce. Indeed the man in the centre of our painting and two of the children at right are singing.
On a figurative level the children are copying the bad behaviour of the adults, who, here, are drinking or smoking a pipe. The little girl at left is drinking, while two of the children at right are smoking.
This type of paintings often held a moralistic lesson, so does our painting: the little girl at the extreme right had also been smoking, but is now vomiting.
Our painter often painted merry companies having a good time. Sometimes he has incorporated in these our subject of children copying the behaviour of their parents (“as the old ones sing, so the young ones pipe”). Several key figures within the artistic production of Ryckaert appear in our painting: the mother breastfeeding and the man next to her lifting his jug.
Our comparative works cover the period 1638/39 – 1654:
- the first four paintings, from museums in Budapest, Stockholm, Dresden and Frankfurt all date from the years 1638/39;
- they are followed by two paintings holding our man with the jug, dated 1640 and 1642;
- the following Dresden and Munich paintings date from 1642 and 1648;
- the last three examples are from the first half of the 1650s.
Clearly our painting must date from the 1640s, possibly from the first half of that decade.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is an iconic subject of Flemish Baroque painting, which Ryckaert regularly painted during his career.