Jan Steen was born at Leiden, where he mainly worked, with periods in Haarlem, Utrecht and The Hague. He is famous for his witty moralising scenes of domestic life, which are well represented in the National Gallery's large group of paintings by the artist. He was a lifelong Catholic, and also produced religious and mythological paintings.
His father was a brewer and leased a brewery for Steen at Delft (1654-7). In 1672 he was licensed to keep an inn at Leiden. Jan Steen attended Leiden University in 1646; his paintings often contain literary or theatrical references.