The Angel Leaving the House of Tobias
Old Master Paintings
|Medium, technique||oil on canvas|
92.5 x 77.5 cm
|Collection||Old Master Paintings|
|On view||Museum of Fine Arts, First Floor, European Art 1600–1700 and British Painting 1600–1800, Cabinet 10|
The setting of Ryckaert’s painting is not a real interior but a stage, equipped with decorative props and framed by a curtain. Written on an ornate cartouche in the background is a Netherlandish proverb: “As the old sing, so pipe the young”. In the seventeenth-century, instructive proverbs played a major role in educating children in the Low Countries. Following the principle of teaching through fun, pictures conveyed messages through a series of didactic motifs. For instance, the raised glass is intended to advise against intemperance, while the peeled lemon warns that the attraction of a frivolous lifestyle is only skin-deep. The adults are apparently unable to set a good example, and their children “pipe” in imitation of what they hear. The proverb illustrated in this painting is thus primarily a warning about the dangers of bad parenting.
Pigler, Andor, Katalog der Galerie Alter Meister, 1-2. Museum der Bildenden Künste, Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest. 2, Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, 1967, p. 608.
This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.