17th Netherlands Steen http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/ 17th Netherlands Steen Jan Steen, Rhetoricians at the Window, detail, Philadelphia http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=99405023 99405023 Jan Steen, Samson and Delilah, detail, LACMA Compare this to Ter Borch's Woman at her Dressing Table (previous image). Here is another variation on the male who falls under the spell of a beautiful woman and who lies, like a courtly lover, in the lap of the lady. This theme was popular in Northern art since the late fifteenth century where it appeared as one of many narrative "examples" of the dangers of "female" beauty and worldly sensuality. As usual, western culture projected male anxieties about the dissipating world of the body onto women. By the time of Steen's painting, Dutch burgher society had turned away from traditional middle class values of moderation and sobriety to embrace courtly luxury, beauty, pleasure, leisure, elegance, and love in every category of art including portraiture, still-life, landscape, genre painting, and literary subjects (history painting). Steen, of course, specialized in the new subjects of pleasure, though with a comical and satiric edge. Samson exemplifies the new Dutch social-climbing burgher, complete with the latest French courtly hairstyle. http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=97368017 97368017 Steen, Bathsheba, detail, Getty http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=101933736 101933736 Jan Steen, Family Concert, Chicago Art Institute As with many Dutch Baroque genre scenes with musical themes, Jan Steen signed his "Musical Family" n Chicago on the depicted sheet of music. Other artists signed on the musical instruments. By associating painting with music, which was one of the liberal arts since classical antiquity, Renaissance and especially Baroque painters hoped to enhance the nobility pf painting and raise it from a menial craftsmanship (as understood in the Middle Ages) to a liberal art tied to mind. By the same token, Renaissance and Baroque artists frequently compared painting to poetry, philosophy, history, and math (proportion and perspective), http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=146262052 146262052 Jan Steen, Family Concert, Chicago Art Institute As with many Dutch Baroque genre scenes with musical themes, Jan Steen signed his "Musical Family" n Chicago on the depicted sheet of music. Other artists signed on the musical instruments. By associating painting with music, which was one of the liberal arts since classical antiquity, Renaissance and especially Baroque painters hoped to enhance the nobility pf painting and raise it from a menial craftsmanship (as understood in the Middle Ages) to a liberal art tied to mind. By the same token, Renaissance and Baroque artists frequently compared painting to poetry, philosophy, history, and math (proportion and perspective), http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=146262053 146262053 Jan Steen, Family Concert, Chicago Art Institute The child playing a viol with a pipe may play mischievously on the Dutch proverb, "As the old sing, so pipe the young" This detail also subverts the noble art of music with the base implement of smoking, a pastime associated with pleasure and drunkenness in Dutch sermons and moral emblems. http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=146262054 146262054 Jan Steen, Music Lesson, 1667, Corcoran Gallery http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=146600412 146600412 Steen, Rape of the Sabines. c. 1665, Ringling Museum http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=150358113 150358113 Steen, Rape of the Sabines. c. 1665, Ringling Museum http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=150358249 150358249 Steen, Rape of the Sabines. c. 1665, Ringling Museum http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=150358115 150358115 Steen, detail of Kermiss, Philadelphia This is a relatively rare example of a Dutch Baroque painting depicting peasants and burghers together. The upper class arrives by coach, seen in the rear of the second detail in this sequence of close-ups. Their decorum and self-control contrasts strikingly to the drunken revelry, dancing, and public urination shown by the shameless peasants. This painting and others like it by Molenaer listed below help explain the appeal to wealthy, polite, art collecting elites of oil paintings depicting disorderly peasants. Such works allowed upper class viewers to let down their hair in the privacy of their imagination while using art to uphold social hierarchies. Other Dutch paintings mingling social class include Duck's "Street Scene with an Elegant Couple: (Los Angeles, LACMA), Molenaer's "Fashionable Couple Watching Peasants Playing Ball," Molenaer's "Family Group" (Raleigh), Potter's "Farm Near The Hague," Steen's "Burgher of Delft and His Daughter," and Ochtervelt's "Street Musicians" (St. Louis). Vermeer's two scenes of courtly music with a brothel scene hanging on the wall could also be included. While Steen could also depict burgher excess, most of his scenes of revelry took place in the countryside and upheld traditional burgher social ideas of the "better people'. http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=179912691 179912691 Steen, detail of Kermiss, Philadelphia This is a relatively rare example of a Dutch Baroque painting depicting peasants and burghers together. The upper class arrives by coach, seen in the rear of this detail. Their decorum and self-control contrasts strikingly to the drunken revelry, dancing, and public urination shown by the shameless peasants. This painting and others like it by Molenaer listed below help explain the appeal to wealthy, polite, art collecting elites of oil paintings depicting disorderly peasants. Such works allowed upper class viewers to let down their hair in the privacy of their imagination while using art to uphold social hierarchies. Other Dutch paintings mingling social class include Duck's "Street Scene with an Elegant Couple: (Los Angeles, LACMA), Molenaer's "Fashionable Couple Watching Peasants Playing Ball," Molenaer's "Family Group" (Raleigh), Potter's "Farm Near The Hague," Steen's "Burgher of Delft and His Daughter," Ochtervelt's "Street Musicians" (St. Louis), and van de Venne's "Who Wears the Pants Has the Power" depicting three peasant women giving three sumptuously dressed ladies a good beating (Vassar College). Vermeer's two scenes of courtly music with a brothel scene hanging on the wall could also be included. All of these images are available in the slide show "CLASS" found in my archive of art by subject matter on this web site. While Steen could also depict burgher excess, most of his scenes of revelry took place in the countryside and upheld traditional burgher social ideas of the "better people'. http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=179917010 179917010 Steen, detail of Kermiss, Philadelphia This is a relatively rare example of a Dutch Baroque painting depicting peasants and burghers together. The upper class arrives by coach, seen in the rear of this detail. Their decorum and self-control contrasts strikingly to the drunken revelry, dancing, and public urination shown by the shameless peasants. This painting and others like it by Molenaer listed below help explain the appeal to wealthy, polite, art collecting elites of oil paintings depicting disorderly peasants. Such works allowed upper class viewers to let down their hair in the privacy of their imagination while using art to uphold social hierarchies. Other Dutch paintings mingling social class include Duck's "Street Scene with an Elegant Couple: (Los Angeles, LACMA), Molenaer's "Fashionable Couple Watching Peasants Playing Ball," Molenaer's "Family Group" (Raleigh), Potter's "Farm Near The Hague," Steen's "Burgher of Delft and His Daughter," Ochtervelt's "Street Musicians" (St. Louis), and van de Venne's "Who Wears the Pants Has the Power" depicting three peasant women giving three sumptuously dressed ladies a good beating (Vassar College). Vermeer's two scenes of courtly music with a brothel scene hanging on the wall could also be included. All of these images are available in the slide show "CLASS" found in my archive of art by subject matter on this web site. While Steen could also depict burgher excess, most of his scenes of revelry took place in the countryside and upheld traditional burgher social ideas of the "better people'. http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=179912687 179912687 Steen, detail of Kermiss, Philadelphia This is a relatively rare example of a Dutch Baroque painting depicting peasants and burghers together. The upper class arrives by coach, seen in the rear of this detail. Their decorum and self-control contrasts strikingly to the drunken revelry, dancing, and public urination shown by the shameless peasants. This painting and others like it by Molenaer listed below help explain the appeal to wealthy, polite, art collecting elites of oil paintings depicting disorderly peasants. Such works allowed upper class viewers to let down their hair in the privacy of their imagination while using art to uphold social hierarchies. Other Dutch paintings mingling social class include Duck's "Street Scene with an Elegant Couple: (Los Angeles, LACMA), Molenaer's "Fashionable Couple Watching Peasants Playing Ball," Molenaer's "Family Group" (Raleigh), Potter's "Farm Near The Hague," Steen's "Burgher of Delft and His Daughter," Ochtervelt's "Street Musicians" (St. Louis), and van de Venne's "Who Wears the Pants Has the Power" depicting three peasant women giving three sumptuously dressed ladies a good beating (Vassar College). Vermeer's two scenes of courtly music with a brothel scene hanging on the wall could also be included. All of these images are available in the slide show "CLASS" found in my archive of art by subject matter on this web site. While Steen could also depict burgher excess, most of his scenes of revelry took place in the countryside and upheld traditional burgher social ideas of the "better people'. http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=179912688 179912688 Steen, detail of Kermiss, Philadelphia http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=179912689 179912689 Steen, detail of Kermiss, Philadelphia http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=179912690 179912690 Steen, Music Lesson, detail, Corcoran Gallery, Washington http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=180754402 180754402 http://www.socialhistoryofart.com/apps/photos/photo?photoID=183993728 183993728