Steen, Jan (yän stān) [key], 1626–79, Dutch genre painter, b. Leiden. He studied in Utrecht and in Haarlem under Van Ostade and Van Goyen, whose daughter he married. His huge production of paintings, numbering nearly 900, reveal the influence of most of the major Dutch masters except Rembrandt, but retain a distinct and individual style. His painting offers a composite picture of the social life of his day, often tending toward the humorous or moralistic. His favorite themes were scenes of revelry and feasting. He was a superb draftsman and portraitist, and, despite his love of the incidental, he handled his large groups of figures effectively and spontaneously. Among his many notable works are The Feast of St. Nicolas and The Prince's Birthday (Rijks Mus.); The Menagerie and The Painter's Family (The Hague); and Skittle Players (National Gall., London). The Metropolitan and Brooklyn museums and the Art Institute of Chicago have examples of his work.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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