The Disbanding of the Waardgelders (mercenaries on the pay of the town government) by Prince Maurits in Utrecht, on July 31, 1618.
Joost Cornelisz Droochsloot was a Dutch painter of genre pictures, village scenes, moral allegories and biblical stories. He was active in Utrecht from 1616 to 1660. He became a member of the Utrecht Guild in 1616 and married in 1618. In 1620 he bought a house which he had been paying for over twelve years by painting pictures. He had a number of pupils, including his son, Cornelis Droochsloot (1630-1673). Jan Peterson, P van Straesborgh, Steven de Leeuw and Jacob Duck were also apprenticed to him in the early years of their careers. His early works reflects the influence of Pieter Brueghel the Elder and Pieter Brueghel the Younger and the Flemish David Vinckboons. He continued the tradition of Flemish landscape painting.
Droochsloot predominantly painted village scenes that in his early period resembled the work of Esaias van de Velde. He usually painted a broad village street leading into the distance with houses on both sides. Village activity is depicted with numerous figures and a moral note is often struck: people nursing the sick or feeding the poor. He often repeated his compositions with slight alterations.
Droochsloot was a versatile painter, whose work reflects the influence of artists such as David Vinckboons (1576-1633). He worked in Utrecht all his life, was dean of the Guild of St. Luke several times, and was also regent of the St. John’s hospital, to which he donated appropriate pictures.
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Hurdy-Gurdy players were a popular subject matter in painting and images dating from the early 14th century where it was usually angels that were depicted playing the instrument. Later on during the 16th and 17th centuries the subject matter broadened until it became acceptable to depict the player on his own. It seems here that Droochsloot has chosen a more anecdotal depiction of a charming village scene. The accompanying musicians are playing something close to Spike Fiddles which are an unusual instrument for Dutch paintings and are thought to originate in Persia. These though appear to have pig's bladders as a resonance box and are being played upside down if they are spike fiddles.