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

Site map

Albums Authors Countries Sources Epoches Exibitions Genres
Personages Schools Styles Techniques Themes Types Workshops

Image Use Policy

Unless otherwise noted, images this web site may be used for any purpose without prior permission.

Any material in the public domain found on this web site is not protected by copyright.

We make no representations or warranties with respect to ownership of copyrights in the images, and do not represent others who may claim to be authors or owners of copyright of any of the images, and make no warranties as to the quality of the images.

We shall not be responsible for any loss or expenses resulting from the use of the images, and you release and hold us harmless from all liability arising from such use.

We do not sell art prints, framed posters or reproductions. Ads are shown only to compensate the hosting expenses.