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The Last Drop (The Gay Cavalier)

Possibly a companion to 'The Merry Trio,' in the collection of P. L. Galjart, Netherlands

Judith Leyster, Dutch (active Haarlem and Amsterdam), 1609 - 1660

Made in Netherlands, Europe

c. 1629

Oil on canvas

35 1/16 × 28 15/16 inches (89.1 × 73.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 364, European Art 1500-1850, third floor

Accession Number:
Cat. 440

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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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.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.