Tag Archives: genre painting

The poignant potency of ‘The Bitter Potion’

The Bitter Potion  (c. 1635) by Adriaen Brouwer

The Bitter Potion is an oil on wood by Flemish painter Adriaen Brouwer. It depicts a “low-life” young man with a grimacing face holding a bottle of medicine in his hand.

This type of painting is called a tronie.

It is a textbook example of Flemish genre painting and an excellent way to illustrate disgust, perhaps only equalled in poignancy by the noted self-portraits by Oscar Gustave Rejlander, which I’ve posted before.

The Bitter Potion is World Art Classic #300.