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The Last Drop (The Gay Cavalier)

c. 1629
Judith Leyster, Dutch (active Haarlem and Amsterdam), 1609 - 1660
The costume that the standing figure wears over his clothes suggests that the setting is vastenavond, the night before the beginning of Lent, when people frequently went on binges in order to prepare themselves for fasting and abstinence. This painting speculates on the consequences of such overindulgence. In their dissipated state, the gay cavalier and his companion ignore the menacing presence of the skeleton, which bears an ominous hourglass in one bony hand and a skull in the other....

Object Details
George Hunter Donaldson (1845–1925), London, c. 1903. Possibly Hoogendyk Collection, The Hague; sale, Frederik Muller & Cie, Amsterdam, April 28–29, 1908, no. 70 [1]; purchased by John G. Johnson (1841–1917), Philadelphia [2]; bequest to the City of Philadelphia, 1917.1. According to the catalogue, the sale included works from the Hoogendyk Collection as well as from “other provenances.” See Catalogue d’une grande vente de tableaux anciens: Provenant de la collection-Hoogendyk (deuxième partie) et de quelques autres provenances; La vente aura lieu à Amsterdam les 28–29 avril 1908 (Amsterdam: Frederik Muller, 1908).2. Johnson purchased the painting on the recommendation of Roger Fry. See Fry to Johnson, April 16, 1908, Correspondence, John G. Johnson Papers, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library and Archives, archives.philamuseum.org/jgj/JGJ_B004_F001_023.

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