Flemish Kermess

I’ve just finished reading The Lost Painting, by Jonathan Harr, about the search for a Caravaggio masterpiece named The Taking of Christ. Learning how old paintings can disappear for centuries and how they are cleaned and restored has made me take another look at this one that now hangs upon our bedroom wall.

Reprinted from xoetc.antville.org on Mon 25 June 2007:

When I was in Saskatoon in the early spring I went to an antique store to see if they had any jewellery that appealed to me. While there I saw this painting and stood in front of it, tempted, for some time. The dancing people in the picture exhibit such joy that I wanted to bring it home, but talked myself out of it. We have no extra wall space as it is; already we have framed pictures with no place to hang.


I couldn’t stop thinking about the painting though, and when I was in the city again a couple months later, I told myself if it was still there, I’d buy it. And it was. It’s an unsigned painting but on the back is a tag upon which is printed both “Tenier” and “Festa Campetre,” so I started doing some internet research.

From what I can see, it’s a sort of copy of a 17th century painting called “Flemish Kermess,” by David Tenier the Younger. The basic structure of the painting is the same … the church in the background on the left, the building in the right forefront, the dancing crowd, the folks seated at the table. Surely my painting was not done by Tenier (after all, I only paid $35 for it), but I am a sucker for pictures of people having fun. For now it’s hanging on the wall in my office, overlapping my Canada Council arts calendar and a brim of Grandpa’s fedora.

Due to my attraction to people during happy moments, although I am not particularly a fan of Marilyn Monroe I have an almost life-size framed-glass black and white photo of her famously standing over the hot air grate, barely holding down her skirt. The gorgeous 1950s sex kitten appears to be feeling beautiful and enjoying being admired. What gal has never felt that way at some time in her life?


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