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.