05 Paintings, The amorous game, The Unequal Lovers, Part 76 – With Footnotes

Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem, Haarlem 1562 – 1638
The Unequal Lovers, c. 1619

Oil on panel
26 by 27 5/8 in.; 66 by 70.3 cm.
Private collection

The theme of unequal lovers has a long literary history, but in the visual arts it most often appeared in prints, usually accompanied by a moralizing inscription. The theme took two different forms, that of an old woman soliciting a handsome young man, and, more commonly, an old man soliciting a pretty young woman. Here Cornelis van Haarlem indicates the difference in ages quite subtly, adding a little grey to the man’s beard. The artist focuses instead on the mercenary aspects of the transaction, indicating the man’s wealth by the fur on his cloak, the gold medal on his hat and, most obviously, by the bulging money bag that the woman squeezes suggestively. More on this painting

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Author: Zaidan Art Blog

I search Art History for Beautiful works that may, or may not, have a secondary or unexpected story to tell. I then write short summaries that grow from my research. Art work is so much more when its secrets are exposed

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