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Here, Steen has depicted the proverb ‘As the old sing, so pipe the young’, meaning that a bad example leads to bad conduct. The woman on the left with the open cleavage is having her glass topped up. On the right, the laughing father is teaching one of his children to smoke a pipe. This is Steen himself. Besides his gift for telling humorous stories, Steen was also a skilled painter who could suggest a variety of materials, such as the earthenware jug on the floor, the lilac skirt and the sparkling wine.

Details

  • Title: As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young'
  • Creator: Steen, Jan
  • Date Created: c. 1668 - 1670
  • Physical Dimensions: h133.7 cm x w162.5 cm
  • Provenance: Probably Cornelis Pieter Baron van Leyden, Warmond, before 1790; his widow, Hermina Jacoba, Baroness van Leyden, born Countess de Thoms sale, Warmond, 31 July 1816 (Lugt 8948), no. 35 (for 1,260 guilders to C. Josi for J. Steengracht); jonkheer Johan Steengracht van Oostcapelle, The Hague, 1816-1846; acquired at a family auction by his second son, jonkheer Hendrik Steengracht van Oostcapelle, The Hague, 1846-1875; by inheritance by his nephew, Hendricus Adolphus Steengracht van Duivenvoorde, The Hague and Voorschoten, 1875-1912; his sale, Paris, 9 June 1913 (Lugt 72900), no. 70 (375,000 francs); purchased with the aid of the Rembrandt Association, 1913
  • Type: painting; oil
  • Medium: canvas

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