VERMEER, Johannes
(b. 1632, Delft, d. 1675, Delft)

A Lady Drinking and a Gentleman (detail)

c. 1658
Oil on canvas
Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Women who had become intoxicated on wine were considered to be the embodiment of sin, and this is a motif central to Vermeer's work. According to Jacob Cats, a famous popular teacher of the seventeenth century, women should be forbidden drink altogether, as alcohol was the first step towards whoring.