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Jan Steen: Painter and Storyteller

H. Perry Chapman, Wouter Th. Kloek, and Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., with contributions by Martin Bijl, Marten Jan Bok, Eddy de Jongh, Lyckle de Vries, and Mariët Westermann, and edited by Guido M. C. Jansen
Published 1996
272 pages

Jan Steen, one of the most admired and engaging of Dutch artists, stands apart for his wry and humorous view of the world. He is best known as a comic painter of dissolute households, quack doctors tending lovesick women, boisterous holiday gatherings, and rowdy tavern scenes. Yet Steen also produced genre paintings with a serious side, highly original portraits, and biblical and mythological histories that vary remarkably, from the quiet and intimate to the grand and melodramatic. The careful selection of paintings presented here surveys the breadth of this artist’s achievement and provides an overview of his career, from his early works painting in The Hague around 1650 to those executed in the mid-1670s in Leiden. These paintings also provide evidence of Steen’s genius as a compelling storyteller. The catalog includes essays by noted scholars in the field.

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