Joachim Beuckelaer: Brothelscene (1563)

(Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium)

A painting by the Flemish artist Joachim Beuckelaer (1533-1574). This painting is a subject of a discussion regarding what the scene represents. Possible explanations are: a kitchenscene, the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32), an allegory and a brothelscene. The last explanation is today the most accepted one: the man in the foreground, perhaps a soldier, is touching a waitress on her thighs and a birdcage is hanging on the ceiling (a reference to a brothel - the Dutch word 'vogelen' or 'birding' also meant 'having sex'. Painting from 1563.