Young couples dressed in the latest fashions are enjoying themselves on a palatial terrace. Delicious dishes lie ready to eat on the table – look at that peacock pie! – and the wine is chilling in a cooler. The revellers are holding hands, exchanging glances and playing footsie – the atmosphere is one of pure flirtation. But who is flirting with whom here?
Merry companies were a new subject in painting in the early seventeenth century. Willem Buytewech was one of the genre’s pioneers. He is best known for his many drawings and prints, but he also produced six paintings of young people enjoying themselves. This painting forms the highlight of this small group.
This acquisition enables the Mauritshuis to better represent the development of genre painting in the early seventeenth century. To celebrate this acquisition, we are also displaying two other early genre pieces from the collection. These can be seen to the left and right.
Willem Buytewech (Rotterdam 1591/1592 - 1624 Rotterdam)
Merry Company on a Terrace
On view in
Material and technical details
71 x 94 cm
Luis Augosto Ferreira de Almeida, Visconde de Carvalhido, Paris (his seal on the verso; probably in his catalogue, 1865, no. 56 [as Jacob Duck or Anthonie Palamedesz]); probably his sale, Paris, 14-15 March 1870 (Lugt 31833), nr. 51 (as Jacob Duck); Camillo Castiglione, Vienna, until 1925; his sale, Amsterdam (Frederik Muller), 17-20 November 1925 (Lugt 89243), no. 54 (as Willem Buytewech; unsold); his sale, Berlin (Paul Graupe), 28-29 November 1930, no. 42 (to Rohde); Kurt Rohde, Berlin, 1930-1950; his heirs, 1950-2018 (on long-term loan to the Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin, 1958-2016); acquired with the support of the VriendenLoterij, 2018