Jan Steen’s paintings often have a touch of eroticism. Here, a young woman is looking at us coquettishly while preparing an oyster. Oysters were known as an aphrodisiac, and this girl seems to be offering more than just good food. This small painting is meant to be studied close up. So Steen painted it very precisely and in great detail. Take the silver tray with bread and salt, for example. Or the fashionable jacket with fur and velvet – you can almost stroke it.


  • Title: Girl Eating Oysters
  • Creator: Steen, Jan
  • Date Created: c. 1658 - 1660
  • Physical Dimensions: h20.4 cm x w15.1 cm
  • Provenance: Pieter Locquet sale, Amsterdam, 22 September 1783 (Lugt 3611), no. 349 (for 501 guilders to Van Winter); Pieter van Winter, Amsterdam; his daughter Lucretia Johanna van Winter, 1822, through her marriage to Hendrik Six van Hillegom (not in his sale, Amsterdam, 25 November 1851), to Jan Pieter and Pieter Hendrik Six van Vromade, until 1899/1905; Jan Pieter’s son Prof. Jan Six, until 1926; sale 16 October 1928, no. 45 (for 190,000 guilders to Beets for H.W.A. Deterding); gift of Sir Henri W.A. Deterding, 1936
  • Type: painting; oil
  • Medium: panel

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