(b. 1626, Leiden, d. 1679, Leiden)

The Lovesick Maiden

c. 1660
Oil on canvas, 86 x 99 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

From the mid 1650s through the 1660s, Leiden artists, including Gerrit Dou, and Gabriel Metsu, depicted scenes with quack doctors attending dispirited women. Jan Steen himself treated the theme at least twenty times within the same period. Although artists from other cities, such as Samuel van Hoogstraten, also addressed the subject, the popularity of doctors as figures of amusements also reflects the prominence of the medical faculty at Leiden University, where doctors from all over the Netherlands received their training.

It should be noted that there is a resemblance between the lovesick maiden and Dürer's famous engraving with the personification of Melancholy.