Pardon our dust while we update this corner of the website.

The Doctor's Visit

Jan Steen, Dutch (active Leiden, Haarlem, and The Hague), 1626 - 1679

Made in Netherlands, Europe

c. 1660-1665

Oil on panel

18 1/8 × 14 1/2 inches (46 × 36.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 364, European Art 1500-1850, third floor

Accession Number:
Cat. 510

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

Social Tags [?]

doctor [x]   humor [x]   red herring [x]  

[Add Your Own Tags]

Jan Steen is known for his entertaining and moralizing scenes of contemporary Dutch life. One of his favorite themes was the doctor’s visit, usually to a young woman suffering from lovesickness or pregnancy. The ribbon smoldering on the brazier near the patient’s foot was a quack technique for determining pregnancy. The doctor checks her pulse and appears startled by its quickening, a possible reaction to the man in the doorway, who is presumably the cause of her illness. The laughing figure holding a herring above the woman seems to confirm her predicament and folly.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.