n De Arte - Ryckaert at work : a Flemish painter's view of labour : research

Volume 2008, Issue 77
  • ISSN : 0004-3389



In his depictions of men at work, David III Ryckaert reveals an acute awareness of social differentiation on the basis of professional identity. The craftsman is invariably depicted as an example of industry and diligence, a view strengthened by the inclusion of the artisan's spinning wife. Ryckaert, however, made sure to remind the viewer of the fundamental baseness of the labouring classes, whereas professions of a more intellectual nature (such as artists) were treated with greater respect. This reflects the artist's desire, shared by his clients, to consolidate and justify the social order. By using his art (to instruct the youth), he actively contributed to the shaping of social norms.

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