Jordaens's aim in inscribing three differing compositions of the proverb As the old sang, so pipe the young with the title of a victory song from the Southern Netherlands, Een Nieu Liedeken van Callo (1638), can only be understood in conjunction with a rejoinder ballad from the North (1644), thus forming a terminus post quem for these paintings. The converse use of a song underscores the topsy-turvy world which Jordaens emulates in this proverb which is intent on facilitating a predestination interpretation. Erasmus and his contemporaries exploited exempla contraria to great success but the ability of the public to correctly interpret this dangerously confusing teaching method waned irrevocably during the seventeenth century. This protected Jacob Jordaens from persecution in his day but also impairs our ability to appreciate him as a sharp-witted artist with an edge, exploiting confessional equivocal themes on personal and/or commercial grounds
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