During the seventeenth century the Netherlands and Holland became one of the greatest world powers, the economic power of the moment was joined by a high cultural status that was reflected in all artistic fields, however at this time a strong puritan sentiment also flourished with rigid moral norms that marked each and every one of the aspects of society. Perhaps that is why we find society's interest in a pictorial subgenre set in brothel scenes known as Bordeeljte so strange. This was just part of the well-known genre scenes that represented environments of daily life, but perhaps it was a much more intimate and clandestine environment and not only in terms of sensuality, but because it was a taciturn environment. doomed to the nocturnality of certain houses of "bad reputation".
The work we are analyzing here is en titled La alcahueta although it is also known as En casa de la alcahueta and is the product of the brushes of one of the great geniuses of the time and perhaps the artist who has best represented the scenes of gender throughout the history of art, Johannes Vermeer. Vermeer is the author of such well-known works as Girl with a Pearl Earring and while it is true thatin his paintings the female figure takes on special importance,on this occasion it does so even more if possible
We are facing awork done in oil on canvas dating from the mid-seventeenth century, specifically from the year 1656. Painted in vertical format, the canvas is not too large, rather its measurements make it a small or medium format work that has one hundred and forty and three centimeters high and a little over one hundred and thirty wide. According to experts, Vermeer may have been inspired by the work of the same title painted by the artist Dirck Van Baburen and which hung in his mother-in-law's house.
The artist follows his traditional composition of placing an object in the foreground to mark the depth,this time it is a table covered by a tapestry and that makes us to assume that the scene would not take place inside a public brothel but in the house of the procuress herself. Special attention deserves the care that the artist has put in the representation of the tapestry with an exceptional tactile representation of the fabric.
Behind the table there is a group of four characters: dressed in red we find the pimp's client, perhaps a married man who uses the matchmaker's tricks to seeing her lover, a young woman dressed in yellow with cheeks rosy from the wine she holds in her glass in her left hand. Completing the composition is another man with a disturbing smile who looks directly at the viewer and introduces us to the painting and the procuress who watches with interest how the action between the lovers unfolds.