Battle Between Carnival and Lent  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Battle Between Carnival and Lent is an oil painting by Dutch artist Jan Miense Molenaer, located in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which is in Indianapolis, Indiana. Painted roughly 1633-1634, it depicts a brawl between rowdy peasants, representing Carnival, and a group of monks, representing Lent. The rowdy combatants are armed with comical implements representing their sides, such as a peasant with a beer tankard battling a monk armed with fish.

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Description

This painting is based on the mock battles that occurred as the revelry of Carnival gave way to Lenten abstinence. The peasants on the side of Carnival are armed with beer tankards, cooking implements, and sausage, while the monks and priests who stand for Lent brandish dried codfish. This comic scene is both a condemnation of the immorality that had come to mark many Roman Catholic feasts, and a subtler commentary about the struggle between the Protestant Dutch Republic and the Catholic Southern Netherlands, which were subjugated by Spain. This critique is clearest in the soldier choking a Dutch boy in the foreground. Although the figures are all very engaging and animated, their imperfect anatomy marks this as one of Molenaer's earlier efforts.

Historical information

Based upon their similar sizes, shapes, and subject matter, Battle Between Carnival and Lent was probably originally paired with The King Drinks as a pendant. That painting, from roughly 1635, depicts the revelry of the Feast of the Epiphany, again using the overindulgence of the peasants as a warning against gluttony and impiety. Of the two, Battle Between Carnival and Lent is the more polished artwork.

Acquisition

The IMA acquired Battle Between Carnival and Lent in 1998. It was purchased in honor of A. Ian Fraser, with additional funding provided by the David L. Chambers, Jr. Fund for Dutch and Flemish Art, the Dr. V.K. Stoelting Art Fund, and Mrs. Jane W. Myers. It currently hangs in the William C. Griffith Jr. and Carolyn C. Griffith Gallery and has the accession number 1998.96.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Battle Between Carnival and Lent" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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