HONTHORST, Gerrit van
(b. 1590, Utrecht, d. 1656, Utrecht)

Merry Company

1623
Oil on canvas, 125 x 157 cm
Staatsgalerie, Schleissheim

Honthorst's genre painting relates to the subject portrayed by his fellow Utrecht Caravaggisti. It depicts a provocative scene of a wanton student (the prodigal son?) in the company of two prostitutes and a procuress carrying an infant. The pages of an immense open folio on the table are brilliantly illuminated by candle-light as is the semi-nude torso of the theorbo-playing prostitute. One of the pages illustrates an older man and a nude child, most likely Cupid, beating a woman who holds a large book. The opposite page shows a Latin poem.




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