The Effects of Intemperance

The woman slumped on the left, whose purse is being picked by a child on the extreme left, is sleeping off the effects of alcohol. She illustrates the proverb 'De Wijn is een spotter' (Wine is a mocker). As in many other paintings by Steen, it is the foolishness of their elders that encourages the children to misbehave. Here the child throwing roses to the pig illustrates a popular saying about foolish behaviour ('To throw roses before swine'). In the background an old man is seducing a young girl, another of the pitfalls of alcohol.

As in many of Steen's paintings the coarse subject is in sharp contrast to the refined rendering of the various textures of the objects on the floor and the shimmering fabrics.

Key facts

Artist dates
1626 - 1679
Full title
The Effects of Intemperance
Date made
about 1663-5
Medium and support
Oil on wood
76 x 106.5 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Bought, 1977
Inventory number
Location in Gallery