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Jan Steen: 'An Interior with a Man offering an Oyster to a Woman'

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In the 17th century oysters (traditionally a symbol of lust) were thought to be an aphrodisiac and the man's offer can be interpreted as a sexual advance. There are several discarded oyster shells scattered around the woman's chair, perhaps an allusion to her occupation as a prostitute. In the right background is an engraved view of Antwerp.

The picture was probably painted in the early 1660s. A signed variant is known (Oslo, Museum), and another is said to have existed.

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