Cornelis Troost Singing Round the Star on Twelfth Night
Cornelis Troost was the leading Dutch painter of the eighteenth century. He had a theatrical background and painted narrative scenes filled with humorous details. Here we see a group of people going from house to house as they celebrate Epiphany, known in the Netherlands as Driekoningen (Three Kings). The revellers, who are dressed as the Three Magi of the Christmas story, sing traditional songs and carry a star-shaped lantern. Mothers have come out of their houses with their children to wonder at the gleaming light emanating from the star.
Troost often worked with gouache (opaque watercolour with gum arabic) and pastel (soft chalk), a technique that was particularly popular in the eighteenth century.
at left, on a piece of paper: O starre je moet er soo / stille niet staan / [je] moet met [ons] / na[ar] Beth[lehem] gaan / Toen
Jan Isaak de Neufville Brants (1768-1807), Amsterdam; his son, Jan Isaak de Neufville Brants (1800-1828); his sale, Amsterdam, 28 March 1829 (Lugt 11974), no. 7 (for 100 guilders [together with inv. no. 184] to Jeronimo de Vries for the Mauritshuis, together with inv. nos. 179-185, 191, 193); purchased, 1829