Jan Havicksz Steen

Jan Havicksz Steen was born as the son of Elisabeth and Havick Steen, a merchant of grain and brewer. He was the oldest out of 8 children. Just like his famous contemporary Rembrandt van Rijn he went to the Latin school in Leiden and entered the University of Leiden in 1646. In Utrecht he was an apprentice of the painter Nicolaus Knupfer, a German painter. The work of Jan Steen shows influences of Nicolaus’ use of composition and colour. Also Adriaen van Ostade from Haarlem inspired the painter Jan Steen. It is not clear though whether he was an apprentice of Adriaen as well.

In 1648 Jan Havicksz Steen became a member of the St. Lucas guild of painters in Leiden, where he cooperated with Gabriel Metsu. In 1649 Jan Steen moved in with landscape painter Jan van Goyen in Den Haag. They worked together for 5 years and he married Gabriels daughter Margriet. During the period of 1660-1670 Jan Steen lived in Haarlem, this period is seen as his most productive one. In 1672 Jan was chosen to be the head of the Guild of art in Leiden, he moved back to live in the house inherited from his parents. After the death of his wife Margriet, he married Maria van Egmond on April 22 in 1673.Together they had 2 children. Jan Steen died in 1679 and was tombed in his family grave in the St Pieters church in Leiden.

The work of Jan Steen
Vivid and chaotic scenes out of daily life were Jan Steens most important subjects, from which the Dutch saying ‘Household of Jan Steen’ was originated. But Jan Steen also painted historical, mythological and religious scenes, portraits, still-lifes and nature scenes. In total he produced about 400 paintings. Jan Steens style of painting was related to the baroque and caravaggism.