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The Village Wedding

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A rural wedding is taking place in a courtyard. The groom descends the stairs to welcome the bride. The congregation appears to be criticising and mocking the couple. It is probable that the bride has already lost her virginity. This can be deduced from the relief on the fountain which shows a horseman abducting a struggling woman. In that case, Jan Steen gives a lively commentary to an inappropriate marriage that is completely at odds with the middle-class morality of the time. The date 1653 is found at bottom left, a rare occurrence in Steen's work. This means that this work can be considered the earliest masterpiece by Steen. The figures are clearly grouped and each shows individually a masterful characterisation. 'The village marriage' proves that before his departure for Delft Jan Steen was an independent artist, and already a master of his art.

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title The Village Wedding
Material and technique Oil on canvas
Object type
Painting > Painting > Two-dimensional object > Art object
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Height 64 cm
Width 81 cm
Artists Schilder: Jan Havicksz. Steen
Accession number 2314 (OK)
Credits Bruikleen / Loan: Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed 1948 (NK-collectie)
Department Old Masters
Acquisition date 1948
Creation date in 1653
Age artist About 27 years old
External exhibitions Feesten in de Gouden Eeuw (2011)
Research Alma
Geographical origin Northern Netherlands > The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe

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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