Joos van Craesbeeck was one of the leading genre painters in seventeenth-century Southern Netherlands. As the only known pupil of Adriaen Brouwer, he contributed, together with David II Teniers (1610-1690) and David III Ryckaert (1612-1661), to the revival of Flemish painting in the 1630s. His career was atypical due to his combination of jobs. Originally trained as a baker, he did not start to paint until later in life, probably stimulated by the flowering of the arts in Antwerp. Initially he combined his painterly activities with the baker's trade, but with the passing of time he devoted himself entirely to the arts. As with so many painters, Joos van Craesbeeck was remarkably mobile. Coming from a prosperous and socially active family in the rather remote Hageland region, he spent his active life in the most important Brabantine cities of the era: first in Antwerp, then in Brussels. Over time, chroniclers have indulged in fantasies about Van Craesbeeck's colourful nature to such an extent that in the nineteenth century, he and Adriaen Brouwer were presented as debauched cult heroes. Even today this romantic conceptualization determines the discourse on both painters. This book adjusts this image by means of new investigation into Van Craesbeeck's life and work, based on archival documents and the approximately one hundred and twenty paintings left behind by the artist. By situating Van Craesbeeck within the socio-economic and cultural world in which he worked, his oeuvre gains in meaning and his status as genre painter in light of reception-aesthetics is clarified. Van Craesbeeck's works were primarily intended for the free market and were bought by a cultivated and rather prosperous clientele with a sense of humour. This book is the first monograph that deals exclusively with this fascinating and non-conformist Brabantine genre painter. The catalogue raisonne forms the core of this study, which, for the first time, assembles and describes at length Van Craesbeeck's paintings.