As usual, I’ve been prepping for this week’s Fireside Feasts workshop
out at Wyckoff. It’ll be the fourth and final session, so if you’ve been
meaning to partake, but haven’t yet, it’s now or never. Well, now or
next year! (8/26, 5-7 p.m.)
In any event, this Thursday we’ll be dealing with a typical activity
on many a farm in past centuries: hog butchering. Come join us
as we make sausage, render lard, and maybe even fry up some
salt pork. As we do, we’ll ponder the role the mighty hog played
in the life of a farm family such as the Wyckoffs.
In the meantime, take a gander at the artwork I found while doing
a bit of research. It’s a Dutch genre painting by Michiel van Musscher
of Amsterdam (1645-1705), in which a butchered hog is hanging
right alongside a city street. Note the person nearby (left) who
appears to be blowing up the hog’s bladder, much to the delight
of some children. There’s also a lovely lady with her vegetable
cart (I used a detail of just her in a previous post–see 8/19).
It’s a nice scene of a common activity of the time, one that
fits in perfectly with this Thursday’s topic:
Now, I wanted to know when van Musscher lived, as well as in what
year this was painted. So I googled his name and repeatedly found:
Same painting, but…hey! Wait a minute. Where’d the slaughtered pig go?!
So, is one of these a forgery? And if so, which one? I investigated further,
but came up empty-handed. Now, I’ve heard that oftentimes artists would
do a study of certain objects or people, and then use it again and again,
in several different works, but this is more a case of a deletion. In some
ways, the second one doesn’t make any sense; why would a person be
blowing up a hog’s bladder when there’s no hog? Is strange to find two
versions of the same (almost) scene. Maybe one was a study, a first draft
so-to-speak? If so, then which is the final painting? And shouldn’t one or
the other be identified as a study? Particularly the one that’s for sale as
a print on websites? Or maybe the artist did a second version for some
squeamish city dweller who didn’t want a slaughtered animal in his
painting? It’s got me puzzled. If anyone out there has any ideas or
information, please let me know!
Additional statements added 8/25 @ noon.
Actually, it may be the work of the seller of the online print.
That person or persons has “cleaned it up” for prospective
(and squeamish) buyers. A form of censorship, perhaps?
Thing is, now it’s no longer van Musscher’s artwork; it’s
NOTE: I found the version that’s in color at an online art site,
where anyone may order a reproduction, in various sizes, even
framed. The black and white version is in Peter Rose’s translation
of De Verstandige Kock , or The Sensible Cook (1989). She
gives the name of the artist and the museum where his work
is located, but not his time period, or the specific year in which
this painting was done. Hence, my online search.