The Doctor's Visit, c. 1665

Jan Havicksz. Steen

About The Doctor's Visit

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.

About Jan Havicksz. Steen

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, Delft, where he also rented a brewery, and Leiden where he ran an inn. His genre paintings as a rule had a strong moralistic meaning, some of them even examples of Old Dutch proverbs. People still talk of a 'household by Jan Steen' to refer to a messy and exuberant way of house-keeping.


The Doctor's Visit


Jan Havicksz. Steen, Leiden 1626 - Leiden 1679


c. 1665


This object is on view in room 28

Type of object


Accession number

VdV 76


h. 61 x w. 49 cm (framed) h. 90 x w. 75 x d. 9 cm

Material and technique

oil on panel


Bruikleen / Loan: Stichting Willem van der Vorm 1972


Old Masters




panel (material > organic material > vegetable material > wood > worked wood > panel)

oil (material > artist's material > paint > oil)


painting (two-dimensional object > painting > painting)

Geographical origin

Harlem (Europe > Western Europe > The Netherlands > North Holland > Harlem)