COUWENBERGH, Christiaen van
(b. 1604, Delft, d. 1667, Cologne)

Three Young White Men and a Black Woman

1632
Oil on canvas, 104 x 127 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg

In this painting the history painter Van Couwenbergh illustrated an episode from an unidentified story. A white man sits at the foot of a bed holding a black woman on his lap. Both are naked.íThe woman looks frightened and is putting up a violent struggle. The man casts an amused glance at his companion on the left, who is naked but for a loincloth which he holds in place with one hand. He points at the woman and grins in our direction , as if sharing a joke with us. A third young man lifts his hands to the sky in surprise or dismay. He is a minor character, possibly a servant, and the only person who is fully dressed. A chamberpot stands on a triangular stool beside the bed.