Merrymakers at Shrovetide vs Interrupted Sleep

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Since the first brush stroke was taken in Europe, the paintings that have been produced have played a vital role in revealing our world's past, history, religion and daily lives of its citizens. Each time period and movement have influenced artists from its first existence to even this very day, creating an extraordinary timeline of art and history as one. Frans Hals' Merrymakers at Shrovetide of 1615 and Francois Boucher's Interrupted Sleep of 1750 are no exception. Despite their different time periods and movements, the two paintings each have many parallels and at the same time very distinct styles which play on how influential artists' styles are upon each other. Even with all of the differences and similarities, both paintings are truly exemplary in exposing their time periods.

When looking at Hals' Merrymakers at Shrovetide and Boucher's Interrupted Sleep, the subject matters are highly dissimilar. In Hals' painting, he focuses mainly on the event of Shrovetide or Mardi Gras. The two male figures in the background have been identified as typical characters from comic theatre: Peeckelhaering on the left with a garland of eggs and sausages and Hans Wurst on the right with sausages upon his cap. The woman in the foreground, who may be modeled after a male actor, is surrounded by these men. Food, bagpipes and the obscene gestures made by the man behind her also surround her and all reference sex. Hals captures the crude and rude actions that take place in local taverns within this painting as the young woman is swarmed by numerous rambunctious males.

On the other end, Francois Boucher's Interrupted Sleep shows a young boy who is a herder of goats, using a feather to tickle the neck of a sleeping shepherdess. The girl is viewed to have fallen asleep after picking wild and quite largely scaled flowers. This country-side scene is believed to be a symbol of innocence and purity. People were thought to be more natural and exemplify the ideal of the perfect human...
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