A fine early 20th-century oil painting depicting three monks holding a lively conversation in a library. The artist, Max Barascudts (1869-1927) was known for his detailed genre scenes, particularly of religious subjects.
During the period 1900-1930, the church commissioned many paintings of this nature to soften its image. It seems that the ambition was to become more approachable and challenge the perception of a stuffy institution.
Here, we see three monks discussing the finer details of a book. One appears to be gesturing as he politely makes his point, while the others look on.
Barascudts trained at the Munich Academy under Paul Höcker and Johann Leonhard Raab. Alongside his work as a painter, he was also a prominent illustrator and graphic artist.
Here’s another of his works: https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-4367360
The painting is signed in the lower right and held within a period swept frame.
Medium: Oil on board Overall size: 22” x 18” / 56cm x 45cm Year of creation: c. 1915 Provenance: England Condition: Areas of light craquelure. Frame with some age-related wear. Artist’s auction highlight: £2,367 achieved for ‘Drei Krokodile in historischem Interieur’ at an auction in 1999.