Jan Steen often included his own portrait in his riotous household and inn scenes. In this raucous tavern scene, he is the man who lifts the woman's skirt. The rowdy character of the scene is further enhanced by other details with obvious erotic connotations: the frying-pan handle, the pipe stem, the gesture of the man filling a pipe as well as the broken eggs. However, it is not clear whether such a scene was meant to simply humour the viewer, or whether it was meant as a warning against intemperance and immoral behaviour.

Key facts

Artist
Artist dates
1626 - 1679
Full title
The Interior of an Inn ('The Broken Eggs')
Date made
about 1665-70
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
43.3 x 38.1 cm
Inscription summary
Signed
Acquisition credit
Bequeathed by Sir Otto Beit, 1941
Inventory number
NG5637
Location in Gallery