Dice Peasants - David Teniers the Younger. 26.6x35.5
Since the middle of the XIX century. and further, including 1981, when the short catalog of works of Western European painting in the Hermitage was published, the picture was erroneously called The Game of the Toad. In 2005, this bug was fixed. Teniers’s work does not depict the game “Eagle or Tails,” but another entertainment - game of dice, for which the edge of the table is specially drawn (though only a few lines scratched on the table are noticeable).
Sitting in the background, an elderly peasant after a successful roll of a bone cube (he is on the edge of the table) considers the money won. Opposite him is a young peasant. He shows a coin with his left hand, offering to continue the game of chance. A chip is held in his right hand, which he is going to throw on the table.
The plot and composition of the Hermitage canvas date back to The painting "Dice Soldiers in a Zucchini" by Adrian Brauver (Old Pinakothek, Munich). In both works, the action takes place in a zucchini. On the left side of the semi-dark interior is a door knocked together from uncouth old logs. Both there and here on the floor you can see a white jug - the only decoration of a wretched room. In both cases, two seated and two standing figures (two dice and their “fans”) are depicted at the table. In the depths of the two paintings, two more characters are represented - a woman and a man at Brower and two men at Teniers. The differences also affected the costumes of the dice. Browver depicted them in soldier uniform, Teniers in peasant clothes. In both works the theme is “Vanitas” (“Vanity of vanities”), since they show the fleeting and vain nature of worldly entertainment.
Most likely, the Hermitage painting is executed around 1640, as well as the subscription Teniers painting "Dice Players" (c. 1640, Rijksmuseum - Amsterdam). Both works, St. Petersburg and Amsterdam, were created in the early period of Teniers' work, when the artist was influenced by Adrian Brauver.