Moralizing Scene with an Old Woman and a Man

Adriaen van de Venne1631

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

A bent, old woman carrying a cat leans forward to take a quick puff on the clay pipe offered to her by a bearded man. The man's belly protrudes into the center of the scene, almost touching the woman's hand. Bagpipes, often used to symbolize sexual prowess, hang from his belt. In the background, a boy pats a dog while an older man taps on the old woman's shoulder. The single flame of a lamp and a crescent moon that peeps out from behind the clouds are the only sources of illumination in this night scene. Adriaen van de Venne used sharp contrasts in lighting to emphasize the deep creases in the bearded man's face, his grubby hands, and the coarse wool of the elderly woman's skirt.


  • Title: Moralizing Scene with an Old Woman and a Man
  • Creator: Adriaen van de Venne
  • Date: 1631
  • Physical Dimensions: 16.7 x 11.4 cm (6 9/16 x 4 1/2 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Oil on paper
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Signature: Signed and dated, bottom center, "1631/Adr:v:Venne".
  • Object Type: Drawing
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 2001.39
  • Inscription: Signed and dated in point of brush and brown pigment, lower right corner, "1631/ Adr:v: Venne."; inscribed on the verso, in graphite, "By Adrian Vander Venne/ Scholar of van Deist/ 1589-1602/ Signed and dated 1631".
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Drawings
  • Culture and Date: Dutch, 1631
  • Culture: Dutch
  • Classification: Drawings

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