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The Cover
December 27, 2006

The Supper After the Masked Ball

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2006;296(24):2895. doi:10.1001/jama.296.24.2895

The ball is over, the supper has ended. The night is far spent. So are the lovers. Harlequin sags, in grief or despair we hardly know. Perhaps he merely sleeps, dreaming of pastures that once were green. The candles flicker down; one has just been snuffed, another is reflected in a mirror. Above it all, in a cloud of white, sits Pierrot, gazing sadly down at the mess around him. It is a scene reminiscent of the old Italian commedia dell’arte, brought forward some three centuries in a small woodcut entitled The Supper After the Masked Ball (cover ) by the 19th-century French painter Thomas Couture (1815-1879). The time is now the middle of the 1850s, the place Paris. The action takes place in a room of the Maison Dorée, a fashionable restaurant on the Boulevard des Italiens and Rue Laffitte, not far from the Opéra-Comique and a favorite of the city's le beau monde.