Young Cavalier and Fortune Teller

Jan Cossiers

Photo: UMJ/N. Lackner

Jan Cossiers (1600–1671)

Young Cavalier and Fortune Teller

Oil on canvas

Inv. no. 88

Those in the dark – the outcasts


Then as now, those at the top and bottom are a theme of the times. But the past knows neither the welfare state nor legal protection.

Ethnic groups known as “gypsies” constantly live on the margins. They have no fixed abode and are also called “travellers”. They are considered untrustworthy fellows lacking moral fibre. Constantly vilified as fraudsters, they are outside the law. But the outcasts of the Baroque fascinate the art of its time, which however always places them in the sphere of the disreputable and casts them in a literally poor light. Those naively going anywhere near them quickly become victims, be they a peasant lad buying questionable love potions or a young dandy who is distracted by a fortune teller, while his purse is being stolen from him.

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