Bauernmalerei or Peasant Painting, sometimes referred to as ‘Farmer
Painting’, developed during the 17th century in Central
Europe when furniture with intricate wood inlays became very
popular for the upper classes. After the difficulties suffered
during the thirty year war, which was between 1618 - 1648 fought
where the country of Germany now stands, people sought to resume
their normal lives.
As the world settled around them, the ‘country’ populations
or peasantry began to reestablish their lives and homes, but
couldn’t financially afford the finer inlaid furniture
which had become so popular with the upper classes. Their desire
to own replicas created a new style of art.
Everyday furniture and useful wooden objects that were part
of everyday life were built by the local carpenters. These
furniture pieces soon began reflecting artwork as these carpenters
tried their hand at painting. They soon became quite
creative and by imitating the finer styles of more expensive
pieces with their painted decorations, their works were made
Early Bauernmalerei shows decorated furniture with painted
geometrical designs and floral compositions, where the floral
motifs were taken from local flowers which grew in profusion
in their local communities.
Later on, as this art style matured and evolved, design elements
from the Rococo period, such as scrolls became an intricate
part of this simple country style. Today we see not only
collectible furniture decorated in this style but also wooden
plates, coat hangers, milk cans and other useful household
objects. The techniques used demand good brush control, the
use of a simple color palette reflecting the traditional colors
most often used in this charming work.