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Jan Steen, 'As the Old Sing, So Pipe the Young', c. 1668 - 1670

Here, Steen has depicted the proverb ‘As the old sing, so pipe the young’, meaning that a bad example leads to bad conduct. The woman on the left with the open cleavage is having her glass topped up. On the right, the laughing father is teaching one of his children to smoke a pipe. This is Steen himself.

Besides his gift for telling humorous stories, Steen was also a skilled painter who could suggest a variety of materials, such as the earthenware jug on the floor, the lilac skirt and the sparkling wine.

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