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Pieter Codde, Merry Company with Masked Dancers, 1636

Scenes of elegant, revelling youngsters – ‘merry companies’ – were very popular at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The Amsterdam artist Pieter Codde is one of the painters who specialised in this genre.

In this merry company, people are eating, drinking and making music. In the middle of the room, a woman in a fashionable black dress is dancing with a man wearing a Venetian mask and a fool’s costume. His two companions on the left are masked as well.

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