European Painting before 1900, Johnson Collection
The Doctor's Visit
Jan Steen, Dutch (active Leiden, Haarlem, and The Hague), 1626 - 1679
Oil on panel
Cat. 510John G. Johnson Collection, 1917
LabelJan Steen is known for his entertaining and moralizing scenes of contemporary Dutch life. One of his favorite themes was the doctor’s visit, usually to a young woman suffering from lovesickness or pregnancy. The ribbon smoldering on the brazier near the patient’s foot was a quack technique for determining pregnancy. The doctor checks her pulse and appears startled by its quickening, a possible reaction to the man in the doorway, who is presumably the cause of her illness. The laughing figure holding a herring above the woman seems to confirm her predicament and folly.
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