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Painting Title Mother and Child
Collection York Art Gallery
Artist Attributed to school of Steen, Jan (Dutch painter, 1626-1679)
Date Earliest possibly about 1660
Date Latest about 1679
Signed yes
Description The woman seated behind a table holds a pot from which she ladles out food to a standing child. The picture has been overpainted and the attribution to Jan Steen is doubtful. In the 17th century the Netherlands was the financial and trading centre of Europe; Dutch society was run by the prosperous middle class, and upper class that was not dominated by the aristocracy. That wealthy Dutch bourgeoises were mainly Protestant, and they appreciated genre scenes such as this, showing love and the virtues of domestic life, stressing the moral values of the society. Those paintings represented mainly women, located at home as a place appropriate to them. In the paintings women are often engaged in domestic tasks, they take care of the children and it is stressed they should develop the virtues of humility and piety.
Current Accession Number YORAG : 41
Inscription front lr 'JSteen'
Subject everyday life; figure; interior
Measurements 27.3 x 22.8 cm
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by John Burton 1882.
Principal Exhibitions Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Institution, Summer Exhibition, York, 1883, no. 116, as by unknown artist.
Publications PREVIEW. City of York Art Gallery Quarterly, 6, April 1949, vol. II, p. 66-67; York Art Gallery Catalogue - Catalogue of Paintings, Vol. I: Foreign Schools 1350-1800, City of York Art Gallery, York, 1961, pp. 63-64; Wright, C. and Robertson, A., Dutch Seventeenth Century Paintings from Yorkshire Public Collections, Leeds, 1982, p. 119 (attribution doubted); Oil Paintings in Public Ownership. North Yorkshire, London, 2006, p. 336 as by Jan Steen.
Notes The attribution to Jan Steen was confirmed by Prof. Gerson (letter 14th June 1955), but questioned by C. Wright and A. Robertson (1982). The painting may have been overpainted. The presence of the signature is not conclusive proof of the authorship, as Steen's followers often falsely signed works created after Steen's paintings.

John Burton (1799-1882) was a horse dealer and farmer; he created a collection of paintings (mainly Victorian) in his villa in Poppleton, Yorkshire. He had been on the organising committees for the 1866 and 1879 exhibitions in York and decided to leave his collection to the citizens of York rather than his first choice, the National Gallery (he was persuaded to change his will a month prior to his death). The Burton Bequest of 127 pictures founded the York Gallery's permanent collection.

Rights Owner York Museums Trust (York Art Gallery)
Author Dr Magdalena Łanuszka



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