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As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young

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

Geography:
Made in Netherlands, Europe

Date:
c. 1670-1675

Medium:
Oil on canvas

Dimensions:
37 5/8 x 42 inches (95.6 x 106.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
Cat. 519

Credit Line:
John G. Johnson Collection, 1917

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Label:
This painting is a visualization of a popular Dutch proverb about younger generations following the models of their elders. The proverb, written in Dutch, appears on the sheet of paper at lower left. Steen suggests that older generations may not always set positive examples: the nursing mother at center offers a toast of wine, while the woman to her left offers a child a drink directly from the wine pitcher. The laughing figure standing at center is a self-portrait of the artist, who sets the tone by pointing out the folly and comedy of the scene.