In a reception room, a madam, accompanied by a young prostitute, comes to welcome a client whose refined appearance leads us to believe that he is an aristocrat. A half-open door leads to a room with a second entrance used by the young prostitute. The intimate nature of the room is suggested by the presence of a bidet with a sponge and an enema next to it, mules on the floor and hanging clothes. The artist suggests, through the presence of an open pocket filled with money, the very function of the mother pimp. Her dress, the length of which reveals her ankles, accentuates the carnal, even erotic, side of the scene. The artist likes to play with contrasts because, alongside this suggested sensuality, he integrates trivial elements, already mentioned, such as the pierced chair placed between the two women in an indecent manner. Moreover, the presence of the dog, usually considered as a symbol of fidelity, contributes, through its paradox, to a comical situation.
A few errors in perspective suggest that the painter is an amateur, probably a client himself, which makes this scene particularly exceptional in its originality. Indeed, apart from Pierre Antoine BAUDOUIN, known for his light compositions, few artists dare to represent this type of subject. On the other hand, the theme of the brothel was taken up by artists at the end of the 19th century, as shown by the works of TOULOUSE-LAUTREC and Constantin GUYS.
The emphasis on a prosaic realism and a precise description of the scene makes this composition unique. Indeed, the attention to detail gives us important information about the furnishings. Indeed, the seat, the curved jamb of the fireplace, or the painted door top, all in the Louis XV style, testify to the collectionism that was on the rise at that time. However, the Louis XVI style is making its appearance as shown by the mirror above the fireplace.
We have here a true testimony of the past which sheds light on the history of prostitution and on the way these secret places were arranged.
Didier Foucault: "The libertine aristocracy has raised its head ; it will not lower it again until 1789.