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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Painting: Pre-18th century: Festive Scene
Jan Miense Molenaer

Jan Miense Molenaer

(born Haarlem, Holland about 1610 -- died Haarlem, Holland 1668)

Jan Miense Molenaer captured the lively households and bawdy taverns of seventeenth-century Holland. These images gave a comic spin to the familiar morality tales, and were as appealing to American patrons of the nineteenth century as they were in their own time. Molenaer learned his craft in the lively art community of Haarlem, where he married the respected painter Judith Leyster in 1636. Not long after, the courts ordered his property confiscated to pay debts, forcing Molenaer and his bride to flee to Amsterdam. There, his financial situation improved with important commissions and his wife’s inheritance. After twelve years in Amsterdam, Molenaer purchased a house in Heemstede, but he continued to accrue debt and sold his paintings to settle accounts. A strong-willed and colorful character, Molenaer was arrested more than once for public brawling.

Image Credits: Painter in his studio by Jan Miense Molenaer. Courtesy Museum Bredius.