Peasants Dancing at an Inn

Infrared examination does not usually detect underdrawing in Jan Steen’s paintings. In Peasants Dancing at an Inn (1646-1648, inv. no. 553), there are fine lines throughout most of the composition, but the underdrawing is more pronounced around the horizon on the right side.

Infrared reflectography revealed an extensive, sketchy underdrawing in a dry medium in the landscape, trees and the background village. The fact that the drawing style differs from the rest of the painting raises the question as to whether this area may have been drawn by another hand. Comparison with the landscape sketchbook by Steen’s father-in-law (and possible teacher) Jan van Goyen shows many stylistic similarities.

Text and Images © Conservation Department, Mauritshuis

Jan Steel Infrared Reflectogram Detail
Infrared Reflectogram of Jan Steen, Peasants Dancing at an Inn
Jan Steen Peasants Dancing at an Inn
Jan Steen, Peasants Dancing at an Inn
Jan van Goyen Sketchbook Detail
Detail of page from Jan van Goyen sketchbook