FRANCKEN, Frans II
(b. 1581, Antwerpen, d. 1642, Antwerpen)

The Prodigal Son with the Courtesans

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Oil on panel, 35 x 46 cm
Private collection

Owing to its narrative content, the parable of the prodigal son, as told by Luke, has inspired many artists since the Middle Ages. The episode described by Francken here is that of the prodigal son spending his money in an inn. While Luke's parable gives little indication of how the son squanders his fortune, artists have taken great liberty in depicting scenes of merry-making, gambling and episodes with courtesans, as is the case here.

Frans Francken II treated the subject on other occasions, too.