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The Doctor's Visit

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  • 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?

    Thank you.
    KInd regards,

  • 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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More information

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.

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title The Doctor's Visit
Material and technique Oil on panel
Object type
Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Width 49 cm
Height 61 cm
Artists Painter: Jan Havicksz. Steen
Accession number VdV 76
Credits Bruikleen / Loan: Stichting Willem van der Vorm 1972
Department Old Masters
Acquisition date 1972
Creation date in circa 1665
Collector Collector / Willem van der Vorm
Internal exhibitions De verzameling Willem van der Vorm. Schilderijen van Hollandse en Franse meesters uit de 17e en 19e eeuw (1950)
The Collection Enriched (2011)
De collectie als tijdmachine (2017)
External exhibitions Jan Steen in het Mauritshuis (2011)
De verbeelding van de Nederlandse spreekwoorden (2006)
Research Alma
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,...

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