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

Feast of the Chamber of Rhetoricians near a Town-Gate

Oil on canvas, 64 x 84 cm
Private collection

Rhetoricians (in Dutch: Rederijkers) were members of amateur dramatic and literary societies called Rederijkerskamers. Membership was not limited to literary figures: many painters, including Carel van Mander, Hendrick Goltzius, Frans Hals and Adriaen Brouwer were rederijkers. Jan Steen is not known to have been a member, but their public activities, often comic, would obviously have appealed to him. He painted several other pictures depicting them.

Suggested listening (streaming mp3, 2 minutes):
Franz Schubert: Drinking song from the 16th century D 847, quartet