Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History



  • The Dissolute Household, ca. 1663–64
    Jan Steen (Dutch, 1626–1679)
    Oil on canvas; 42 1/2 x 35 1/2 in. (108 x 90.2 cm)
    The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982 (1982.60.31)

    This painting depicts a "Jan Steen household," a standard by which all later family dysfunction may be measured. The lady of the house tramples a Bible while having her wineglass refilled. Her husband and the maid join hands in a gesture suggesting service beyond the call of duty. The boy in blue fends off a beggar at the door, thus recalling the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31), in which the more fortunate figure goes to hell. Fate hangs over the family's head in the form of a basket holding a sword and switch (signifying justice and punishment), a crutch and can (forecasting poverty), and a wooden clapper (used by lepers and the plague-stricken). In this (sixteen-) sixties sitcom, Steen himself stars as the father, his wife Margriet van Goyen as mom, and their sons Thaddeus and (next to grandma) Cornelis as themselves.

    This work of art also appears on Connections: Dutch

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    On view: Gallery 633
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  • The Dissolute Household, ca. 1663–64
    Jan Steen (Dutch, 1626–1679)
    Oil on canvas; 42 1/2 x 35 1/2 in. (108 x 90.2 cm)
    The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982 (1982.60.31)

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