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Feast in the house of the Rich Man

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (printed)
    Utrecht (probably, printed)

  • Date:

    ca. 1616 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Passe, Crispijn de (the younger), born 1593 - died 1670 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Purchased through the Julie and Robert Breckman Print Fund

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 7, The Sheikha Amna Bint Mohammed Al Thani Gallery, case CA9

This print by Crispijn de Passe the Younger is one of a set of four made in 1616 to illustrate the biblical 'Parable of the Bad Rich Man' (Luke 16:19-31). The sumptuous interior is the setting for a party with music, dancing and scenes of courtship. The parable relates the story of Lazarus, a beggar who is refused food from the house of the rich man. On his death the rich man finds himself in Hell and sees Lazarus, who has also died, in Heaven. It reminds us that earthly wealth is of no consequence after death and that those who suffer in this life will receive comfort in the next.

Though a biblical print telling a particular story, the setting is full of contemporary detail. The people are dressed fashionably and expensively. The print offers us a fascinating glimpse into the interior of a luxurious 17th-century home and contemporary dress. The wall covering is patterned with a fleur-de-lis and lozenge pattern, the room is decorated with a painting and sculpture of Venus and Cupid and the lid of the clavichord is painted with a hunting scene. There is also a painting of a reclining nude in a panel above the alcove.

Dancing was an indicator of good breeding and an essential part of the education of men and women from an early age. From the later sixteenth century dancing became more formal. Dances like the Galliard, which focussed on skill and variation of footwork, were particular showcases for a man to display his prowess and masculine strength.

Physical description

Interior of a wealthy man's abode, with many details of interior design such as wall coverings, textiles, paintings, silverware displayed on a buffet and candelabra. The central figure is a sumptuously dressed female figure facing her male dancing partner. A man sits in the back left corner holding a goblet. Three couples are dancing. A pair of lovers sit on a bench left. In the left foreground a lady on a throne-like chair receives the attentions of a kneeling man, and a lapdog jumps up against him. To the right are a lady playing a clavichord, a man singing, a man playing a violin. The walls are decorated with a fleur-de-lis pattern, the ceiling is moulded and the floor is flagged. To the right is a niche containing a scultpure of Venus and Cupid. The lid of the clavichord is painted with a hunting scene. There is also a painting above the alcove to the left, featuring a reclining nude.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (printed)
Utrecht (probably, printed)


ca. 1616 (printed)


Passe, Crispijn de (the younger), born 1593 - died 1670 (artist)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

Hîc habitant Risus laeti et lasciua voluptas, / Miscentur leuibus mollia dicta locús: / Somnia varia vmbra, mundi hic pereuntis imago, / Vitrea spendescunt gaudia, tracta cadunt.
Couplets below image. a of 'imago' is added above.

Centre below image

AB lud
Lower right, AB as dipthong

Crisp: de pas iunior inu: et sculp:
Lower centre below couplet


Height: 28.2 cm on inlay paper, Width: 33.5 cm on inlay paper, Height: 27.8 cm sheet trimmed to max., Width: 33.2 cm sheet trimmed to max.

Object history note

Purchased through the Julie and Robert Breckman Print Fund from Christopher Mendez, 53 Clerkenwell Close, London, EC1R 0EA in 2003.

Registered file number 2003/429

Descriptive line

Engraving, 'Feast in the House of the Rich Man', plate 2 of the set of four called 'The Parable of the Bad Rich Man', Crispijn van de Passe II, Netherlands, ca. 1616.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Hollstein, F. W. H. Dutch & Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts ca. 1450 - 1700. Volume XVI, No. 4, p. 91. Amsterdam, A. L. van Gendt & Co., 1974

Labels and date

A Feast in the House of the Rich Man
About 1616

This print is from a series depicting the biblical story of Lazarus and the rich man. Although it shows music-making and dancing performed by fashionably dressed men and women, there is an underlying moral message. The Latin inscription at the bottom describes these pursuits as empty worldly pleasures, an unworthy distraction from the serious concerns of death and immortality.

Dutch Republic, now the Netherlands (probably Utrecht)

By Crispijn de Passe II


Purchased through the Julie and Robert Breckman Print Fund [09.12.2015]

Subjects depicted

Silverware; Candelabra; Dancers; Wall coverings; Paintings; Textiles; Dog; Sculpture; Clavichord; Music; Chairs; Violin; Dancing; Buffet


Prints; Interiors; Dance; Musical instruments; Music; Clothing; Religion; Christianity; Biblical Imagery


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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