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Tavern Interior

Tilborch Gillis van

(Brussels 1625 - c. 1678)

This painting was probably purchased by Marcantonio IV Borghese in 1783; its first certain mention in the context of the collection at the Casino di Porta Pinciana dates to the beginning of the 19th century. It is attributed to Gillis van Tilborch, whose signature appears on the vat on the ground to the right. The work in fact is completely in keeping with the production of the Flemish artist, who specialised in this genre of painting. He learned his trade from his father Egidius and from David Teniers the Younger. The canvas depicts the interior of a tavern, where several patrons are gathered around a table, talking and making merry.

Object details

1660-1670 ca.
oil on canvas
cm 79 x 99

19th-century frame decorated with for corner palmettes, 97 x 117.6 x 8 cm


(?) Rome, Marcantonio Borghese, 1783 (Della Pergola 1959); Rome, Borghese Collection, 1833 (Inventario Fidecommissario 1833, p. 21); purchased by Italian state, 1902.


Firmato sul tino 'TILBORC'

Conservation and Diagnostic
  • 1936 - Augusto Cecconi Principi;
  • 1947 - Carlo Matteucci.


The provenance of this painting is still unknown. According to Paola della Pergola (1959), the work was purchased by Prince Marcantonio IV Borghese in 1783 and entered the collection of the Casino di Porta Pinciana shortly thereafter, where it is indeed documented beginning in 1833 (Inventario Fidecommissario 1833); her hypothesis, however, lacks credibility, as the work is not mentioned in the list of the Prince’s acquisitions.

The canvas belongs to a genre of painting that appealed to European nobles and bourgeois, who appreciated works of small dimensions depicting interior scenes and representations of popular life.

As we know from his signature on the large vat on the ground in the lower right hand corner, the painting is by the Flemish artist Gillis van Tilborgh. It was executed between 1660 and 1670, the period in which – according to Kristina Herrmann Fiore (2003) – he developed his own style, interested  especially in mockingly portraying the popular world of campsites and inns. In this case, he depicts a drinker and other patrons around a table in a dark, cold tavern, while several women cook food over a flame. Behind them emerges a female figure, probably a comic performer, holding a strange sort of rod.

Antonio Iommelli

  • G. Piancastelli, Catalogo dei quadri della Galleria Borghese, in Archivio Galleria Borghese, 1891, p. 421;
  • A. Venturi, Il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Roma 1893, p. 148;
  • J. A. Rusconi, La Villa, il Museo e la Galleria Borghese, Bergamo 1906, p. 89;
  • R. Longhi, Precisioni nelle Gallerie Italiane, I, La R. Galleria Borghese, Roma 1928, p. 202; Zoege Von Manteuffel 1939, XXXIII, p. 167;
  • A. De Rinaldis, Catalogo della Galleria Borghese, Roma 1948., p. 79;
  • L. van Puyvelde, La Peinture Flamande à Rome, Bruxelles 1950, p. 208;
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese in Roma, Roma 1951, p. 51;
  • P. della Pergola, La Galleria Borghese. I Dipinti, II, Roma 1959, p. 190 n. 285;
  • C. Stefani, in P. Moreno, C. Stefani, Galleria Borghese, Milano 2000, p. 360;
  • K. Herrmann Fiore, in Degustazioni d’arte. Enologia mitica, spirituale, simbolica e metafisica nelle collezioni pubbliche di Roma, a cura di C. Biasini Selvaggi, Roma 2003, p. 60;
  • K. Herrmann Fiore, Galleria Borghese Roma scopre un tesoro. Dalla pinacoteca ai depositi un museo che non ha più segreti, San Giuliano Milanese 2006, p. 95.