Focus on the Peck Collection: Idle Sleep

January 21, 2022 - April 17, 2022

Artists have depicted the theme of sleep for centuries. The meaning of such images can be numerous depending on who sleeps, where and how they sleep, and their reasons for doing so. Using a drawing attributed to seventeenth-century Dutch artist Jacob Duck of a slumbering youth as inspiration, this Focus on the Peck Collection installation explores the ways in which artists have assigned moral judgments to people who have fallen asleep unintentionally. Ranging in date from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century, these works warn against sleep obtained through idleness and laziness, illustrating how slumbering without earning it can have detrimental effects.


Attributed to Jacob Duck, Dutch, c. 1600-1667, A Sleeping Youth, c. 1650-60, black chalk on paper, 4 1/2 x 7 1/16 in. (11.4 x 18 cm). Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Peck Collection, 2017.1.23.