David Joseph (‘David’) Bles
1821 – The Hague – 1899
Bles frequently found inspiration in literature. He painted a scene from the acclaimed play The imaginary invalid by Molière (1622-1673). He also depicted proverbs and mottos from the poems by Jacob Cats (1577-1660) and Hieronymus van Alphen (1746-1803). In the case of The imaginary invalid the spectator is actually already aware of the entire story and is being reminded of the comical antics of the protagonist, Argan.
When Bles went to a costume ball in 1844 he became fascinated with 18th century costumes from the period of Louis XVI. Thereafter he dressed all figures in his genre paintings in this historical attire. It turned out to be a good choice, because from that moment his paintings were in great demand in the Netherlands and beyond. At the 1855 Brussels World Exhibition he won the gold medal and his customer base included King Willem II of the Netherlands.