'The frivolous Eelhart (= Noble Heart) quite unexpectedly meets his beloved Isabel in the bar of an inn in Loenen. The young lady has run away from her uncle and guardian Anzelmus, who wants to force her to marry his 'learned' nephew Raasbollius (= Loudmouth). Coincidentally, uncle and nephew are lodging in the very same inn, as is one of Rasbollius' colleagues, Doctor Urinaal (= Urinal). In a cunning fashion, Eelhart manages to impress Isabel's guardian and is finally given permission to marry her.'1
Here, Rasbollius is engaged in a heated debate with Urinaal, concerning the orbit of the planets. The former is in favour of Ptolemy's theory that the sun revolves around the earth. Urinaal, on the other hand, believes the opposite. The elements of the gentlemen's dinner have been temporarily hijacked and they serve admirably as the sun and revolving planets. To the left, the servant, Filipijn, appears to have borrowed one of the planets to take a quick drink. The inn-keeper looks on, from the right, in amazement at the scene he sees before him. Although the composition is not the same as that of Troost’s depiction of the same subject, executed 21 years earlier, Buys must surely have known his master’s pastel, if not in the original, then through the engraving after it, made by Pieter Tanjé. Buys has, though, adapted the scene according to his own, rather different sensibility, playing down the exaggerated facial expressions and gestures of Troost’s characters, and using his own very characteristic, more colourful palette.
1. Edwin Buijsen and J.W. Niemeijer, Cornelis Troost and the Theatre of his Time, Plays of the 18th century, exhibition catalogue, The Hague, Mauritshuis, 1993, pp. 72-3, cat. 21
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