This lively scene of soldiers carousing is one of the few known paintings by Oosterlinck. From the Southern Netherlands, he followed in the footsteps of Flemish artists working in a Caravaggist idiom such as Gerard Seghers (1591-1651) and Theodoor Rombouts (1597-1637). In this painting, signed emphatically by Oosterlinck on the pewter tankard, five men and a woman surround a table, drinking, smoking and making music. This group likely represents the five senses: the couple at left, her hand on his shoulder, indicates Touch; the man playing a violin, Hearing; the man drinking is Taste; and the figure staring at him is Sight; while the man smoking a pipe, accompanied by a dog that eagerly sniffs the remaining food on the table, represents Smell. Such subjects were commonly produced by Caravaggio's followers in the Netherlands during this period; Dutch painter Jan van Bijlert, for instance, created large-scale works with half-length figures of similar themes, including one in the Niedersächsische Landesmuseum, Hannover (inv. PAM 772).
Oosterlinck himself revisited the subject in a painting, formerly the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (see Sotheby's, London, 3 July 1985, lot 127).
Signature: Signed 'GREGORIO/OOSTERLINCK' (center right, on the pewter tankard)
G. Baker, The History and Antiquities of the County of Northamptonshire, 1838, IV, p. 145, 'Flemish and Spanish cavaliers carousing, on a jug which stands on a table is written Gregorius Osterlink', as hanging in the Small Drawing Room.
A.P. de Mirimonde, 'Les Sujets de Musique chez les Caravagesques Flamands', Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, 1965, pp. 168-169, fig. 42.
J. de Maere and M. Wabbes, Illustrated Dictionary of 17th Century Flemish Painters, 1994, no. 920, p. 307.
PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR
George Fermor (1768-1830), 3rd Earl of Pomfret, York, and by descent to Lord and Lady Hesketh, Easton Neston; Sotheby's, Easton Neston, 17 May 2005, lot 84 (£62,400).
with Noortman Master Paintings, London and Maastricht, from whom acquired by the present owner.