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Dim.: 84,5 x 68,5 cm (the frame)
Dim.: 59,5 x 43,5 cm (the painting)
Provenance: A private collection, Bruges, Belgium.
Titled 'Les Musiciens Ambulans' in the lower middle section, followed by the monogram JG.
Dated 1785 beneath the tavern's sign.
Johannes Antonius Garemijn, born in Bruges in 1712 as a child of a middle-class family was sent to writing school as soon as he was four. The many doodles and sketches that served to decorated his schoolbooks, soon caught the attention. From the age of seven he was taught by the sculptor Rochus Aerts, and at nine he started going to the Bruges drawing academy, which he attended for three years. Garemijn was further instructed in the art of painting and drawing by Hendrik Pulinx and, later on, Lodewijk Roose. In 1765 he became a teacher and headmaster at the Bruges academy, a position which he held for ten years.
Garemijn produced paintings and drawings in many genres, including portraits, genre scenes, landscapes as well as several religious works – the latter mostly commissioned by the local church authorities. He was also known as a fine decorateur, for instance in designing triumphal arches for local processions and festive entries. However, today he is mostly admired for his qualities as a draughtsman, for it is in his drawings that Garemijn truly excels. His dedication to drawing is evident from the fact that he added his motto “Nulla dies sine linea” (No day without a line) to his earliest, now lost, self-portrait.
After leaving the academy, his focu shifted from mainly sanguine drawings towards genre scenes. It's in this context that the present work was created. The scene appears to be inspired on the 'Driekoningen' tradition, where groups of dressed up children walk from door to door, singing for candy.
Although he never travelled, preferring to stay in his native Bruges, he was stylistically greatly influenced by great French rococco artists such as Boucher, Fragonard and Greuze.