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ID number:  BIRBI-41.8
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Master of the Games (follower of Le Nain, Mathieu c.1607?-1677)
Title / Object name:  Soldiers playing cards
Object type:  Painting
Culture:  French
Date made:  the early 1650s
Materials:  Oil on canvas
Measurements:  85 x 114.3 cm
Provenance:  Purchased by Henry Temple, second Viscount Palmerston, Paris, 1773; by descent, third Viscount Palmerston; his widow 1865; by descent, Hon. William Francis Cowper, 1869; by descent, Hon. Anthony Evelyn Melbourne Ashley, 1888; by descent, Wilfred William Ashley, 1907; by descent, Lady Louise Mountbatten, 1940; purchased from Martin B. Asscher in 1941 for £3,150.

Of the three Le Nain brothers - all painters - Mathieu is a more shadowy figure than Antoine and Louis, and his oeuvre is the least coherent and most difficult to define. This is one of a group of pictures, probably painted in France in the early 1650s by an artist working close to the style associated with him. The gestures and expressions of the figures may be intended to imply cheating, a common theme of the period in French and Dutch art, particularly in guard-room scenes.

Notes:  Exhibited: 'Pictures by the Brothers Le Nain', Burlington Fine Arts Club, London, 1910, no. 3; '17th Century Art in Europe', Royal Academy, London, 1938, no. 328; 'French Painting of the XVIIth Century', Wildenstein Gallery, London, 1947, no. 23; 'Les frères Le Nain', Grand Palais, Paris, 1978, no. 47; 'Masterpieces of Reality: French 17th Century Painting', Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, 1985, cat. no. 66.

1 Related People

Le Nain, Mathieu

1 Related Publications

Les frères Le Nain

Grand Palais, Paris
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