Arent de Gelder turns away from his portrait of an unattractive but pretentiously decked-out old lady to flash a grin at the viewer. Here, he casts himself in the role of the antique painter Zeuxis. Legend has it that the latter died in a fit of laughter at the hideousness of his model! With his palette – reduced to shades of brown and orange – and coarse application of the paint, de Gelder was adhering to his teacher Rembrandt’s late style, which was no longer in fashion in 1685. A man of independent means, he could afford this critical comment on the contemporary ideal of beauty.