A Merry Company in Arbor Essay

A Merry Company in Arbor

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Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne painted, drafted, wrote poetry, and was a book illustrator. The Dutch painter lived in the Baroque era.  Jan Brueghel the Elder and Pieter the Elder influenced Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne.  His paintings are varied, not sticking to any particular pattern. His specialty or uniqueness was identified in his style of painting. He painted in various shades of grey. Some of his paintings include Moralizing Scene with an Old Woman and A Man, A Jeu de Paume Before a Country Palace and A Merry Company in Arbor. A Jeu de Paume Before a Country Palace is very similar to A Merry Company in Arbor.  A Merry Company in Arbor can be an expressionist, surrealism, or maybe postimpression.

            Looking at A Merry Company in Arbor, someone notices right away this is an entirely fantasy unrealistic picture. The name of the painting indicates a happy free spirited setting. A bright, light blue sky with hints of unseen sunshine fills up over half of the painting. The coloring, people in trees, people flying from trees, gives a feeling of a festive celebration. Birds flying overhead in the big blue sky symbolize happiness. It is clear this painting is a celebration or festival. Women are dressed in very fancy, beautiful dresses.

            Most people viewing this painting would see this painting inspired by a dream, a surrealism. Mortal people cannot jump that many feet from trees. The ones flying from trees are either angels or fairies. Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne may have been sending a messaging regarding age appropriate behavior. Grown adult people are climbing and jumping from trees. Did Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne climb tress for fun or a part of a workout regime? Formally dressed women are sitting in a circle on the ground. Another woman dressed semi formally rides a small child on her back on the lawn. The people in the trees are dressed as elves. One woman flying down from the tree is dressed as a witch.

            Water fills up plenty space in this picture. In dreams, water symbolizes a direct connection with the subconscious mind. A big lake gives the illusion of being everywhere. To the far right, is a pond with ducks swimming. The ducks are another symbol of fun spirited place.

            Green shrubbery, plants and trees in variable heights are predominate in A Merry Company in Arbor. Long rows of tress go into eternity. A grassy green path is between the rows of trees leading off to wherever the audience imagines. Rings of shrubbery encircle people sitting in a circle. Characters in the painting bring focus to the trees. The artists clarified the trees. Birds flying in the daylight sky is another method to focus on the height of the trees. The people sitting on the ground in formal fancy white frilly dresses bring attention to shorter trees or shrubbery. Trees and plants are meant to give some unknown subliminal message. The artists painted hidden faces in the rows of the trees, using multiple shades of green.

            Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne was a Dutch  self taught painter. His development of many different creative talents is comparable to this particular painting. The painting does not give one direct message. It is a very unrealistic setting, at least for mortal humans. The subliminal messages in the painting are quite clear and jump out. The direct and unconscious messages are left to the interpretation of the individual. A Merry Company in Arbor is a fabulous collectors item. It is a fun, cheerful, bright painting.

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