Serendipity trails: Games and plays for adults

Besides a rich collection of children playing games, Arkyves contains quite a variety of items that show the leisure activities of adults. We can identify a few board games, in particular chess and backgammon. The latter is quite often used in moralizing contexts, sometimes emphasized by the fact that the players are depicted as monkeys. A moralizing message also often accompanies representations of gambling with dice or card games.

Formal balls are occasions for groups of more or less elegant people to enjoy themselves, as are banquets.

For ages, the most important leisurely activity to take place outdoors has been the hunt. A straightforward query for hunting will find us over 5,000 items. We have prepared a query that shows how still-life scenes and also biblical and mythological hunting scenes may be excluded from these results.

Sports and physical performances may take place both outdoors and indoors. There are examples of, among other things, running, horse-racing, cycling, motorcar racing, tennis, and 'jeu de paume', and fencing (our selection here deliberately gives preference to 'recall' over 'precision').

It will hardly surprise you that Arkyves contains over 400 items illustrating the popularity of winter sports, particularly in Dutch art.

Two men around chess board. One man standing and placing pieces into small drawbag.

Grande riunione tenuta nella sala dell'ex circolo popolare in Roma

Deksel van een spiegeldoos met een jongeman en een vrouw bij het schaakspel

ivoorsnijder: anoniem

Het bal

Bosse, Abraham

Vrolijk gezelschap met een dansend paar en een harlekijn, vanaf een balkon spelen apen muziek

Lambrechts, Jan Baptist

Two men in contemporary dress playing indoor tennis.

Two men playing a game of fives; in the background two men fighting

An empty object

Ulysses playing chess in his tent

Man gambling with cards and dice. Person with head round the wrong way on body looks on.

Die streitenden Kartenspieler.

Volpato, Giovanni [Stecher]

Esau hunting (2nd of 3)

Wolfsjagd - Es wird mit einem Aaß dem Unthier nachgestellet

Ridinger, Johann Elias [Maler]

Rivierlandschap bij Kampen met vissers en een

Avercamp, Hendrick

Vertrek voor de jacht

naar eigen ontwerp van: Meester van het Amsterdamse Kabinet

De kaartspelers

Leyden, Lucas van

Ein freigebiger Landsknecht, ein mit einem Priester spielender Kartenspieler und ein Liebespaar.

unbekannt [Stecher]

An empty object

A young woman playing a game of tric-trac with a cupid

A rogue throwing three sixes with his dice


Harms, Johann Oswald [Stecher]

Simplicissimus, illustrierte Wochenschrift

Dansfeest in een burgerhuis

Francken, Frans (II)

Three boys racing on a track in the woods; groups of men at the start and finish; a piece of cloth on a pole at the finish

Delineatio ludi publici gladiatorii urbis et academiae Lugdunensis apud Batavos (titel op object)

prentmaker: Swanenburg, Willem Isaacsz. van

Schaatsers en kolvers op het ijs

tekenaar: Avercamp, Hendrick

Cupid and a girl are skating in a wintry polder landscape