Jan Steen

Marriage Contract

Marriage Contract
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Jan Steen
Genre Painting, Painting, Oil on canvas, 65x83 cm
Origin: Holland, Circa 1668

Before us is a scene of a forced marriage, a scene created by a master of the description of everyday life. Both the central and the secondary characters are natural and convincing. The artist relates the events in detail, which makes the narrative more lifelike, and yet at the same time many details have an allegorical meaning relevant to the situation: thus the yoke is a symbol of the heavy burden of a loveless marriage, and the broken eggs hint that the bride has already lost her virginity.

The artist skilfully combines traditional morality and entertaining elements. The goodnatured humour with which the comic situation is played out is common to many of Steen's genre works, making it the defining characteristic of his painting, the expression of his individuality.

The feel for an entertaining story, the ability to combine the humourous and the serious, and a keen observation of everyday life made Steen one of the most outstanding representatives of 17th-century Dutch genre painting.

Source of entry: Monplaisir Palace, Peterhof, 18th century
Exibition: Dutch art: 17th century

See also

Jan Steen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jan Havickszoon Steen (c. 1626 – buried February 3, 1679) was a Dutch genre painter of the 17th century (also known as the Dutch Golden Age) ...
Jan Steen Online
Jan Steen [Dutch Baroque Era Painter, ca.1625-1679] Guide to pictures of works by Jan Steen in art museum sites and image archives worldwide.
STEEN, Jan
STEEN, Jan. Dutch painter (b. 1626, Leiden, d. 1679, Leiden). Genre paintings ( page 1) · Genre paintings (page 2)

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