The Dissolute Household

Jan Steen Dutch

Not on view

Steen often made himself the butt of his own jokes, placing his self-portrait at the center of domestic chaos. Here, the artist entwines his fingers with those of the maid, who pours his wife a generous serving of wine. Broken glass, a mischievous cat, and romping young boys contribute to the general impression of a household run amok. Suggestions of an ominous fate hang literally over the family’s heads, in the form of a basket containing a beggar’s crutch and can, as well as clappers, then used to warn of leprosy or the plague, and the jack of spades, signifying misfortune.

#5247. Dissolute Household

The Dissolute Household, Jan Steen (Dutch, Leiden 1626–1679 Leiden), Oil on canvas

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