LE NAIN, Mathieu (1607 - 1677)
Media: oil on canvas
Size: 75.5 x 93.0 cm
Acquired: 1968; Allocated in lieu of tax; H.M. Government
Accession Number: NMW A 27
The brothers Mathieu, Antoine and Louis Le Nain ran a joint workshop in Paris. Mathieu specialised in interiors with soldiers. Most Le Nain compositions are suffused with calm. Unusually, this one depicts a violent disagreement over the game being played on the drum head. The young man at the left brandishes a dagger whilst the older soldier draws his sword as he turns to face his assailant. Their companions have not yet noticed the interruption. This painting dates from about 1640. Their work is sometimes compared to Netherlandish genre paintings, although they are often more sympathetic towards peasant life, and less moralizing in tone.