The Embracing Cavalier

Jacob Ochtervelt, 1634 - 1682

The Embracing Cavalier

Jacob Ochtervelt 1634 - 1682


Ochtervelt was a painter of high-life interiors who particularly favoured themes of flirtation and love. This scene is set in a tavern, which is apparent from the fact that customers' orders are recorded in chalk on the little board below the hearth on the right. The soldier on the young woman's knee leans back to kiss her, while another smiling girl plies him with wine. Behind them, a man has fallen asleep on top of a trictrac board. Trictrac was a popular game in taverns. Here it could stand for idleness and alcoholic excess, or the game of love. The open birdcage and the broken pipe on the floor allude to the moral laxity of the scene. Like ter Borch, Ochtervelt used light to accentuate the textures of different materials. The soft, shimmering fabrics contrast appealingly with the shiny metal of the soldier's armour.

Display Label

The Embracing Cavalier around 1660 -3 Jacob Ochtervelt 1634 - 1682 Oil on panel The scene is set in a tavern, or even a brothel. The elegantly-dressed young man enjoys the charms of a pretty girl. Another plies him with wine from a long-spouted jug. The other reveller is asleep on top of a trictrac board. A popular game in taverns, trictrac was seen as promoting idleness and excess and it was also associated with the game of love. Other amorous emblems are scattered about the room: the cooing birds; the extinguished lantern, (a sign of lost virginity); and the pipe, which the Dutch, who love puns, would equate with pijpen, to pipe, or have intercourse. Assheton - Bennett bequest 1979.482

Object Name

The Embracing Cavalier

Creators Name

Jacob Ochtervelt

Date Created

1660-1665 (circa)


unframed: 44.6cm x 35.6cm
framed: 64.3cm x 55.5cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint


Bequeathed by Mr and Mrs Assheton-Bennett.


© Manchester Art Gallery

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