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The Satyr and the Peasant Family
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Formerly the property of the Philippson family of Brussels, looted by the Nazis, purchased by the Museum in 1969, and owned by the Museum pursuant to an agreement with the Philippson family in 2003

Jan Steen
Dutch, about 1660 - 1662
Oil on canvas
20 x 18 1/8 in.
69.PA.15

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A peasant family sits around a wooden table in a Dutch kitchen. The room's exposed rafters, assorted domestic objects on shelves, and cobbled floor are all rendered in careful detail. A woman serves a man who blows on his soup to cool it. A young child faces her, holding a spoon in his upraised hand and begging for food. A lively young woman wearing a large straw hat and an old woman fill the space between the eating man and the standing woman. A crude fellow in the background spoons soup into his grinning mouth. Next to the open door, a satyr leans on a staff and points an admonishing finger at the peasant family. The satyr has noticed that the peasant blows both on his hands to warm them and on his soup to cool it. He will turn to leave the house because he cannot trust someone who blows "both hot and cold with the same breath."

The artist Jan Steen painted this subject, known originally from Aesop's Fables,many times. Throughout the 1600s, this moralistic tale was a popular subject for Dutch and Flemish painters.

Detail Views

Plates and bowls
Plates and bowls