Ill Matched Lovers
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mhoutzager's picture


Some senior vice president at Disney said it best:

'Tale as old as time,true as it can be, barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly' (from Beauty and the Beast)

Except in this case, the tale as old as time is that the lady making eyes at the lecher with the gold is surreptitiously picking his pocket, and passing the goods to her accomplice. Just to make super sure everyone understands what is going on, the accomplice is licking his chops greedily.

Of course what the lecher is doing with his left hand is NOT OK! Also, speaking of hands, she should wash hers before touching his face.

For history nerds, the official National Gallery description of this painting also includes a poem, composed not by Disney, but by a long forgotten Flemish poet who perhaps inspired the painting:

'A rover—short, old, and free
With purse running over with gold,
Took a Venusberg lass for a spree
Who took clients like him in her hold.
That lass has her loose, lowly wiles,
Undoing his purse with its glut
While showing a face full of smiles
Like the grin of a flat halibut.'

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Ill-Matched Lovers (Massys)

The Ill-Matched Lovers is an oil painting by the early Netherlandish master Quentin Massys, usually dated between 1520 and 1525. This painting depicts the trope that old age can make one foolish. Massys depicts this theme by showing an older man besotted by a younger, beautiful woman. He gazes at her adoringly, not noticing that with the aid of an accomplice, she is stealing his purse. The face of the old man was influenced by a drawing done by Leonardo da Vinci, demonstrating Massys's skill in combining Northern European themes with Italian elements.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Ill-Matched Lovers (Massys).