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The Effects of Intemperance
Jan Steen
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Propriety, order and temperance were important virtues in Dutch Calvinist society in the seventeenth century. People admired hard work and disapproved of wantonness. But they also liked a good laugh and the way that Jan Steen could make moralising entertaining.

Some of his jokes are immediately clear. We can see that this is a household where the children and servants are taking over. They are feeding their lunch to the cat, wine to a parrot and roses to the pig, while a small boy reaches into the purse of the sleeping woman. She is the mother of the household, responsible for the well-being of her family. Intoxicated with tobacco and wine, implies Steen, she has neglected her duties. As a result her children run riot, and in the garden beyond a man – perhaps her husband – seduces the young woman who is sitting in his lap.

Key facts
Artist Jan Steen
Artist dates 1626 - 1679
Full title The Effects of Intemperance
Date made about 1663-5
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 76 x 106.5 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Bought, 1977
Inventory number NG6442
Location in Gallery Not on display
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