Self Portrait playing a lute (c. 1663/65) by Jan Steen, in the Museo Thyssen in Madrid, Spain, Jan Steen, Italy, Italy (Photo courtesy of the Museo Thyssen)
Self Portrait playing a lute (c. 1663/65) by Jan Steen, in the Museo Thyssen in Madrid, Spain

A 17C Dutch genre painter who mastered the genre of peasants having fun

Jan Havicksz Steen (1626–79) was one of the few Old Masters with a sense of humor, a Dutch Golden Age genre painter from Leiden specializing in ruddy-faced peasants who are often in a state of carousing, making merry, or simply hanging around the kitchen, drinking beer and making music with friends and family.

It's an idealized peasantry, of course, caught in a rather staged moment of their lives, making them more archetypes and theatrical scenes than realistic portraits and scenes.

Still, they make an interesting peek into 17C life during the Dutch Golden Age.

Photo gallery
  • Self Portrait playing a lute (c. 1663/65) by Jan Steen, in the Museo Thyssen in Madrid, Spain, Jan Steen, Italy (Photo courtesy of the Museo Thyssen)
  • The Merry Family (1668) by Jan Steen, in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Jan Steen, Italy (Photo courtesy of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)
  • Beware of Luxury (“In Weelde Siet Toe”) (1663) by Jan Steen, in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, Jan Steen, Italy (Photo Public Domain)
  • Revelry at an Inn (1674) by Jan Steen, in the Louvre in Paris, Jan Steen, Italy (Photo courtesy of the Louvre)
  • The Dancing Couple (1663) by Jan Steen, in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Jan Steen, Italy (Photo courtesy of the National Gallery of Art)
  • Woman at her Toilet (1663) by Jan Steen, in the Royal Collection in London, Jan Steen, Italy (Photo courtesy of the Royal Collection)
  • The Drawing Lesson (1665) by Jan Steen, in the Getty Center in Los Angeles, Jan Steen, Italy (Photo courtesy of the Getty Center)
  • Rhetoricians at a Window (1661–66) by Jan Steen, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Jan Steen, Italy (Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art)
  • , Jan Steen, Italy (Photo courtesy of)
  • The way you hear it, is the way you sing it (1665) by Jan Steen, in the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague in the Netherlands, Jan Steen, Italy (Photo courtesy of the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis)
  • Self-Portrait (c. 1670) by Jan Steen, in the  Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. Jan Steen portrayed himself as a self-assured artist, in decorous black, seated against a red curtain and tassel. With this type of self-portrait Steen followed the example of famous art, Jan Steen, Italy (Photo courtesy of the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam)

Where to find works by Jan Steen in Italy

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"The Birth of Venus" (1484–85) by Sandro Botticelli (Photo Public Domain)
Uffizi
Florence: Centro Storico

Visiting the Gallerie degli Uffizi is like taking Renaissance 101: A smorgasbord of paintings by Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, and Botticelli—including his iconic "Birth of Venus"

 
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Niobids (Photo by Михаил Бернгардт)
Uffizi 3rd floor 2nd corridor
Florence: Centro Storico

Visiting the Gallerie degli Uffizi is like taking Renaissance 101: A smorgasbord of paintings by Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, and Botticelli—including his iconic "Birth of Venus"

 
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"Venus of Urbino" (1538) by Titian (Photo Public Domain)
Uffizi 2nd floor
Florence: Centro Storico

Visiting the Gallerie degli Uffizi is like taking Renaissance 101: A smorgasbord of paintings by Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, and Botticelli—including his iconic "Birth of Venus"

 
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The inner courtyard (Photo by Zairon)
Ca' d'Oro
Venice: Cannaregio

Venice's Ca' d'Oro (Golden House) is a gorgeous 15th century palatial home housing the Galleria Giorgio Franchetti museum