The piece of paper on the floor bears the rhyme: 'Medicine is to no avail, where sweet pain is the ail'. The text concerns the lovesick woman in the four poster bed. The doctor writes out a prescription and the others laugh at the pretence. This was a very well known and popular 17th century theme.
RAM Krishnan asked
Ha the painting in the background with the two figures been identified? If not identified, what is the theme of the painting?
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen answered
Dear Ram, The painting in the background has not been identified as a work that exists in reality, so probably it is an invention by Jan Steen. The theme has been identified as Venus and Adonis, which makes sense since the female protagonist is not sick in a medical sense but suffers from heartache. On the piece of paper at the right you can read (in Dutch) “hier baet geen medesijn, want het is minnepijn”, which can be translated as "in this case medicine will not help, because it is the pangs of love". I hope this answer is helpful. Kind regards, Els
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|Title||The Doctor's Visit|
|Material and technique||Oil on panel|
Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
|Location||This object is in storage|
Width 49 cm
Height 61 cm
Jan Havicksz. Steen
|Accession number||VdV 76|
|Credits||Bruikleen / Loan: Stichting Willem van der Vorm 1972|
|Age artist||Between 34 and 44 years old|
|Collector||Collector / Willem van der Vorm|
|Geographical origin||Harlem > North Holland > The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe|
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All about the artist
Jan Havicksz. Steen
Leiden 1626 - Leiden 1679
Jan Steen is known for his humorous depictions of the everyday life of farmers and the middle-classes in 17th-century Holland. He worked in The Hague, Haarlem,...Bekijk het volledige profiel