Jan Steen

The Lean Kitchen

c. 1650
We see the disordered and squalid home of a poor painter, identified by the easel set up near the window. At the door, a portly man turns away in disgust at the offer of the lowly fare of a turnip. This is one of a pair of works that contrast poverty and wealth. The other – The Fat Kitchen – is marked not by abundance, but by gluttony. The subject was traditional, and the rustic settings far removed from Steen’s own clients. The pairing satirizes the corrupting effects of both wealth and poverty, against an ideal of moderation.
Artist
Title
The Lean Kitchen
Date
c. 1650
Medium
Painting
Materials
oil on oak
Dimensions
69.7 x 91.9 cm
Nationality
Dutch
Credit line
Purchased 1960
Accession number
9014