Gerard van Honthorst's successful work was influenced by the chiaroscuro painting of Caravaggio. He was appointed court painter to the House of Orange in The Hague, where he dominated the artistic scene.
The young drinker turns invitingly towards the viewer. This intimate scene seems spotlighted by the partially hidden candle-flame. As he enjoys his wine, the young man with the reddened nose is looking at erotic pictures. His book is open at a page showing Minerva being trampled upon by Bacchus, Amor and the naked Venus – the triumph of lust and drunkenness over wisdom and scholarship.