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Gabriel Metsu

Old Man with a Jug

c. 1654–7
17.7 x 13 cm

Old Man with a Jug depicts a male figure of advanced age with a grey beard, portrayed three-quarter length, smiling tipsily at the viewer. He is dressed in a brown woollen suit, a type usually worn by farmers at the time. His bright red buttoned vest contrasts with a white kerchief wrapped around his neck. On his head, the man wears a traditional hat with a conspicuous turquoise-blue brim. His stocky physiognomy is emphasised by the way he rests his forearms on his legs and slightly bends over. The man holds a grey jug with a metal top in his right hand, which is presumably filled with beer. Even though the background of the painting is indistinct, he is unquestionably seated in a tavern. The man’s sympathetic facial expression suggest that he is thoroughly enjoying himself and would welcome the viewer’s company.