A group of friends has gathered in an interior. They are eating, drinking and flirting with one another. With their fashionable clothing and silk stockings, they are extremely flamboyant, but the painter has made their collars ridiculously wide. The young woman on the right is being enthusiastically greeted by the others in the group. The man alongside her has placed his hand possessively around her waist and exchanges a knowing look with the man standing on the left. A look that seems to say: ‘Hands off, pal’.
Dirck Hals was the younger brother of the Haarlem master Frans Hals. He specialised in merry companies, following in the footsteps of Esaias van de Velde and Willem Buytewech.
Epstein Collection, Vienna; D.F. Teixeira de Mattos, The Hague, 1929; gift of jonkheer E.V.E. Teixeira de Mattos, Monte Carlo, 1979
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