As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young
Jan Steen, Dutch (active Leiden, Haarlem, and The Hague), 1626 - 1679
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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.