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Hendrick Pot: 'A Merry Company at Table'

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The brothel scene or 'bordeeltje' was a popular theme in Dutch genre painting. Here, an elderly woman supervises the proceedings and wine and oysters are offered - both of which are known for their aphrodisiac qualities. Her age and ugliness is contrasted with the youth and beauty of the young women. This comparison has the moralising overtones of a Vanitas (Latin for vanity) and underlines the transience of earthly beauty and possessions and the inevitability of age, decay and death.

Pot, a native of Haarlem who became eventually a citizen of Amsterdam, painted small portraits, guardroom and festive scenes.

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