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A major work of reference from the Museum’s collection of Dutch painting, and one of the most representative works of this contemporary of Vermeer, the meaning of the composition goes far beyond the mere representation of a chivalrous scene from the daily life of Amsterdam in the mid-17th century.

The various characters gathered around the table may be a reference to the concept of the Five Senses. For some critics, the fact that there is a representation of the mythological episode of the abduction of Ganymede (based on an engraving of the work by Karel van Mander III) displayed in a prominent position above the fireplace, may afford the work certain erotic connotations or, on the contrary, it may serve the purpose of a theological allegory: Ganymede might personify the human soul untainted by bodily impurities and raised to heaven by divine will.

Details

  • Title: Merry Company
  • Creator: Pieter de Hooch
  • Date Created: 17th century
  • Location Created: Netherlands
  • Physical Dimensions: 64 cm x 74.5 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: MNAA Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, inv. 1620 Pint
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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