'Easy Come, Easy Go'

'Easy Come, Easy Go' 1661

Jan Havicksz. Steen

Room 22

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Sarah asked:
What can you tell me about the thesis that Jan Steen painted himself in this artwork?
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen responded:
Hi Sarah, the figures in the painting are fictitious but Jan Steen probably used his own face as inspiration for the laughing figure in the middle. This man certainly looks like Steen himself. kind regards, Sophie

About this artwork

This apparently cosy domestic scene delivers a strong moralising message. A tablet on the mantlepiece bears the phrase: 'Easy come, easy go', which means that in gambling any winnings are soon lost again. It is a warning against betting on backgammon, which is being played in the room beyond.

About the creator

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, 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.


Object details

material and technique: oil on canvas
kind of object: painting
creditline: Verworven met de verzameling van / Acquired with the collection of: D.G. van Beuningen 1958
inventory number: 2527 (OK)