According to the Bible, the prodigal son was a youth who wasted his wealth on riotous living, then returned home poor and repentant. Here, in a tavern, he shares the last of a rich meal with two prostitutes. A large bed looms suggestively behind them. Completing the theme of wine, women and song, two street musicians play a flute and a violin. On a nearby chair, the young man's bright red cloak and sword underscore the temporary nature of his stay. To clarify his narrative of the prodigal son's bondage to vice, Teniers included a clothed monkey eating an apple, an ancient symbol of love, and dragging a ball and chain.


  • Title: The Prodigal Son
  • Creator: David Teniers, the Younger
  • Creator Lifespan: 1610/1694
  • Creator Nationality: Flemish
  • Date: c. 1640
  • Date Created: 1630/1650
  • origin: Netherlands
  • Physical Dimensions: w30.5 x h22.5 in. (panel)
  • Measurements: 22 1/2 x 30 1/2 in. (57.15 x 77.47 cm) (panel)
  • Artist: David Teniers, the Younger
  • Provenance: The William Hood Dunwoody Fund
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: http://new.artsmia.org/contact-us/
  • External Link: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
  • Medium: Oil on copper

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