Jan Steen: Painter and Storyteller

Jan Steen: Painter and Storyteller

by H. Perry Chapman, Wouter Th. Kloek, Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.
     
 

Jan Steen (1626-1679) is one of the most admired and quintessential seventeenth-century Dutch painters. His repertoire included genre, portraits, refined images of upper-class life, and complex, witty comic narratives. He also painted religious and mythological scenes that vary from quiet and intimate to grand and melodramatic. In his brushwork he displayed an… See more details below

Overview

Jan Steen (1626-1679) is one of the most admired and quintessential seventeenth-century Dutch painters. His repertoire included genre, portraits, refined images of upper-class life, and complex, witty comic narratives. He also painted religious and mythological scenes that vary from quiet and intimate to grand and melodramatic. In his brushwork he displayed an astonishing range, from extremely fine to remarkably loose, even within a single painting. Written by H. Perry Chapman, Wouter Th. Kloek, and Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., with contributions by other noted art historians, this book draws on the most recent scholarship and archival research to reassess Steen within the context of seventeenth-century Netherlandish artistic, literary, and cultural movements. A translation of Arnold Houbraken's biography of Steen, written in the eighteenth century, is included, as well as a biographical essay that uses numerous contemporary sources to present the most comprehensive profile on Steen yet published. Other essays discuss Steen's relationship to the theater and to other Dutch painters of the time, his critical reception, and his varied self-portrayals. Fifty of Steen's paintings, chosen to demonstrate his consummate skill as both painter and storyteller, are catalogued in detail. This lavishly illustrated book is the catalogue for an exhibition of the works of Jan Steen, coorganized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The nuclear bombing of Japan in WWII was a watershed in human history. Those eager to learn how Truman arrived at his fateful decision will find Harry S. Truman and the Bomb: A Documentary History to be an invaluable resource. Editor Robert H. Ferrell has compiled memos, diary extracts, drawings, press releases, etc., reproduced as text and in facsimile, to provide a firsthand look, accompanied by extensive commentary, at the ushering in of the Nuclear Age. Photos. (High Plains [P.O. Box 1860, Worland, Wyo. 82401], $24.50 ISBN 1-881019-12-8) Sterling is distributing three books of interest to military history fans. Looking Into Hell: Experiences of the Bomber Command War by Mel Rolfe, offers 21 first-person accounts by pilots who flew with the RAF Bomber Command during WWII. Photos. (Arms & Armour, $24.95 224p ISBN 1-85409-253-7) Admirers of battlefield valor should enjoy Against All Odds: More Dramatic `Last Stand' Actions by Bryan Perrett, which surveys 13 examples of "`last ditch' warfare," from Wellington's defense of the Hougoumont estate against Napoleon to the horrors of Korea's Battle of Pork Chop Hill. Illustrations. (Arms & Armour, $24.95 224p ISBN 1-85409-249-9) And the Knights Templar, the Assassins, ninjas, the Triads and other militaristic cults are surveyed in Paul Elliott's Warrior Cults: A History of Magical, Mystical and Murderous Organizations. Illustrations. (Blandford, $24.95 208p ISBN 0-7137-2531-1) Jack Canfield (coauthor, Chicken Soup for the Soul) is among those contributing enthusiastic blurbs to Walter Staples's In Search of Your True Self: 21 Incredible Insights That Will Revitalize Your Body, Mind, and Spirit. Among the insights discussed in this inspirational guide to spiritual awakening are the "Law of Creation," the "I.C.A.N. Principle" and the "ULTIMATE INSIGHT" (that God is "our True Self"). (Pelican, $19.95 384p ISBN 1-56554-226-6) The show Jan Steen: Painter and Storyteller, organized by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum, will display 49 of the 17th-century Dutch painter's genre scenes (The Feast of Saint Nicholas), religious paintings (The Return of the Prodigal Son) and portraits (Self-Portrait as a Lutenist) at the National Gallery through August 18th. Co-published with Yale Univ. Press, the catalogue by Perry Chapman, Wouter Th. Kloek and Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. offers 100 b&w illustrations and eight essays. ($50 ISBN 0-300-06793-3) Also at the National Gallery of Art (May 26-Sept. 2), before moving on to Brooklyn and Saint Louis, is In the Light of Italy: Corot and Early Open-Air Painting. The show collects 130 landscapes by plein air painters like Carl Blechen, Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, Pierre-Henri de Valenciennes, Thomas Jones and, of course, Corot, all of whom worked in southern Italy in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. (Yale Univ., $50 ISBN 0-300-06794-1)
Library Journal - Library Journal
While the extroverted comic vitality that marks the painting of Jan Steen will not engender the hymnal praise evoked by the National Gallery's recent exhibition of Jan Vermeer's art, this important catalog proffers another splendid yet very different vision of Dutch Catholic pictorial genius in the 17th century. The volume's several prefatory scholarly essays provide an intellectual context for an appreciation of the character and content of Steen's work. The more traditional essays offer a documentary reconstruction of the artist's life, stylistic development, and working methods, while others more provocatively attempt to offer deeper insight into the artist's persona, the problems of interpreting the paintings, and their relationship to a literary and social milieu. This handsomely illustrated exhibition catalog (the show is also at the National Gallery) includes not only fine color illustrations of the 49 exhibited paintings but also much comparative visual material. Making minimal reference to the essays, an ample text fittingly describes the individual paintings and suggests their likely meanings, sources, and relationships to a larger artistic ambience. An important addition to academic art history collections.Robert Cahn, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300067934
Publisher:
National Gallery of Art
Publication date:
05/01/1996
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
10.98(w) x 9.96(h) x 1.00(d)

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