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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Painting: Pre-18th century: The Doctor's Visit
The Doctor's Visit

The Doctor's Visit
17th century
Unidentified artist
oil on canvas
21 1/4 x 24 1/4 in. (54.0 x 61.6 cm.)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of Mabel Johnson Langhorne

Hear staff member Tierney talk about The Doctor's Visit 1.1MB

This scene was likely made by a follower of the seventeenth-century Dutch painter Jan Steen, who painted a similar image of a woman being treated for lovesickness by a quack doctor. Steen’s paintings, copies of them, and works by his followers were popular on the American art market in the late nineteenth century. They appealed to collectors of various backgrounds, from lawyers like Ralph Cross Johnson to senators and financiers. Many of these patrons believed that the Dutch Republic was the source of American political ideals, a connection popularized through two best-selling books by nineteenth-century American historian John Lothrop Motley, who couched the Dutch struggle for independence in terms of the American Revolution. (Stott, Holland Mania: The Unknown Dutch Period in American Art & Culture, 1998)

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