Focus on the Peck Collection: Drinking and Dozing: Inebriation in Art

May 31, 2024 - August 13, 2024

Men sit at a table outside drinking and sleeping, while several people stand close by, watching them.

For centuries, artists have depicted the act of drinking alcohol and its consequences, from moments of merriment to foolishness and misery. In seventeenth-century Holland, drinking, producing, and selling alcohol was an important part of the culture and the economy. This Focus on the Peck Collection installation features the newest addition to the Peck Collection, Pieter Quast’s Merry Company or the Allegory of Seduction of about 1638-1645 purchased in 2023. This humorous scene of communal drinking is presented alongside another seventeenth-century depiction of a young woman mocked for her drunkenness and a twentieth-century American drawing of a man drinking alone. Though there are elements of comedy, each drawing conveys underlying lessons about the dangers of drinking.

Image credit:

Pieter Jansz. Quast, Dutch, 1605/6-1647, Merry Company, or Allegory of Seduction, c. 1638-1645, graphite and gray wash on vellum, 10 15/16 x 13/ 11/16 in. (27.8 x 34.7 cm). The Peck Collection, 2023.25.