The Doctor's Visit
Jan Steen, Dutch (active Leiden, Haarlem, and The Hague), 1626 - 1679
Jan 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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