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Jan Steen, The Tooth-Puller, 1651

A young boy is being treated by a tooth-puller. His fist clenched, he braces himself against the pain. His stocking has slid down his leg. Most of the bystanders look on with amusement, but the woman on the left seems sympathetic. Is she perhaps the boy’s mother?

Jan Steen is famous for his everyday scenes filled with humorous details. On the left, for example, lies a certificate with a large seal. With this fake document, the quack is pretending to be better qualified than he really is.

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