Allegory of Marital Fidelity (Primary Title)

Jan Miense Molenaer, Dutch, 1609/10 - 1688 (Artist)

ca. 1633
oil on canvas
Unframed: 39 × 55 1/2 in. (99.06 × 140.97 cm)
Framed: 44 3/4 × 63 in. (113.67 × 160.02 cm)
Not on view

This painting, once thought to portray a simple musical gathering, is now considered a complex allegory about successful marriage. The man carefully pouring the wine acts out the virtue of temperance or moderation. The musicians, keeping time to the music they make, represent harmony. Their restraint contrasts with the rough fighting peasants in the background. The fashionably dressed couple, far right, are probably newlyweds. Their dog, a familiar symbol of fidelity, guards them. The painting thus symbolizes and tangibly commemorates the couple’s mutual marital pledge to pursue domestic peace and harmony, and faithfulness.

Why do you think this picture has a monkey in it?

Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Collection
2018: Collecting for the Commonwealth Preserving for the Nation, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1919-2018, Winter Antiques Show, Park Avenue Armory, New York City, NY, January 18 - 26, 2018.

The Art of Music, The San Diego Museum of Art, September 26, 2015 - February 7, 2016; Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, March - June, 2016
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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