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Mining a rich, interdisciplinary mix of sources, including stoneware jugs, personal correspondence, paintings, inventories, and literature written for the dining room, this study offers a critical and entirely original examination of the function of early modern images for the people who owned and viewed them. The study explores the emergence, functions and material culture of the Antwerp dinner party during the heady days of the mid-sixteenth century, when Antwerp's art market was thriving and a new wealthy, non-noble class dominated the city. The author recontextualizes some of Bruegel's work within the cultural nexus of the dining room, where material culture and theatrical performance met humanist with and the desire for professional advancement. The narrative also touches on the reception of Northern art in Lombardy, on intersections among painting, material culture, and theater, and on intellectual history.