“As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young” is a scene of pure joy. Laughter, singing, eating and the feeling of belonging welcomes me to join in the merriment. The connection between young and old remind me of a family sitting down to a Thanksgiving meal. But if I look closer, there are subtle meanings held within the painting.
Jan Havickszoon Steen (1626- 1679) was a Dutch Golden Age painter and one of the leading genre painters of the 17th century. He captured ordinary people people in scenes of daily life doing common tasks. In so doing, he created extraordinary moments. He was known for revealing the nuances of facial expression, especially in children.
Jan Steen loved to paint, which was demonstrated by the 800 paintings that he produced over his lifetime. Fortunately, approximately 350 of his paintings still exist in museums and galleries around the world.
Many of Jan Steen’s paintings were set within inns which was influenced by childhood memories. He was the son of a brewer. When the art market collapsed in 1672, called the Year of Disaster (that is another story for another time), he opened a tavern.