Jan Steen was known for his scenes of bawdy revelry, often with moral overtones. Here we see him dressed as a gentleman, gesturing towards a seated man who has recently been identified as Gerrit Schouten, a brewer from the Dutch town of Haarlem. Schouten, accompanied here by his son and daughters, owned a brewery called the Elephant. Steen creates a witty allusion to this fact by placing a painting of an elephant over the fireplace. Centered on the mantelpiece is a skeletal bust of Death, inscribed with Discite Mori (Learn to Die). This reminder that the pleasures of life are fleeting and that death will ultimately triumph is tempered by the inscription on the harpsichord: musica pellet curas, or music drives away care.