Adriaen van Ostade
(bapt. Haarlem, 10 Dec. 1610; d Haarlem, 27 Apr. 1685). Dutch painter, draughtsman, and etcher, active in Haarlem. Although he turned his hand to many subjects, he was principally a genre painter. According to Houbraken, he and Adriaen Brouwer (whose work is similar) were fellow pupils of Frans Hals. Ostade’s early pictures depict lively scenes of peasants carousing or brawling in crowded taverns or hovels.
This scene of a man reading the news surrounded by family and friends within the sunlit confines of a weavers’ cottage epitomizes the rustic scenes of peasant life for which Ostade is so well known. Linen weaving, a profession practiced only by men, became the most important and lucrative occupation in Haarlem in the seventeenth century. Ostade celebrated the economic profit brought about by this industry in this outstanding watercolor, an autonomous work of art, and one which remained famous through the eighteenth century.