• Doctor's Visit

    Artist:
    Steen, Jan. 1625 or 1626-1679
    Technique:
    oil
    Dimensions:
    62,5x51 cm

Steen, Jan. 1625 or 1626-1679

Doctor's Visit

Holland, circa 1660

Doctor and patient was one of Dutch genre painters’ favourite subjects. Jan Steen produced several works on the theme. The bright colours in the patient’s clothing invest the picture with a joyful tone and the young woman herself, plump and ruddy-cheeked, has little to suggest that she is ill. She is just coming round from a mild faint, perhaps put on. She was brought round by a tried-and-tested folk remedy – the smell of smouldering woollen yarn. The unburnt end of it is still sticking out of the little brazier standing on the floor. A smirking young lad is peeping round the bed-curtains, while an old gossipy servant is whispering something in the ear of the doctor, who is clearly more interested in her tale than in the state of his patient. And what indeed can he do when, as a Dutch proverb says, “Medicine will not help where love is to blame!” The extinguished candle evidently alludes to the extinguished feelings of her beloved, whom the girl still longs for. While he was a talented story-teller, Steen did not miss the chance to also convey the beauty of objects that surround people. The texture of the fabric and the soft fur is superbly conveyed. On the little table next to the patient a neat still life comes together by itself from the various items: a clear carafe on a tin plate, a little porcelain cup on the velvet tablecloth, a silver spoon and the parchment and morocco leather bindings of the books. A distinctive palette characterized the artist’s late period marked by a resonant combination of red, green and white.

Title:

Doctor's Visit

Place:

Date:

Material:

Technique:

oil

Dimensions:

62,5x51 cm

Acquisition date:

Entered the Hermitage in 1772; acquired from the collection of L.A. Crozat, Baron de Thiers, in Paris

Inventory Number:

ГЭ-879

Category:

Collection:

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