St Nicholas Feast 1829
Johannes de Mare
* 1806 in Amsterdam † 1889 in Amsterdam
Steel engraving on chine collé. Size of sheet: 46 x 34.1 cm.
After the painting of St Nicholas's day by Jan Steen (1626-1679) in the Rijksmuseum, inv.no.SK-A-385.
Literature: Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon : auf Grund archivalischer Forschungen bearbeitet : mit mehr als 3000 Monogrammen, p. 100, cat.nr. 2.
Steen was a storyteller with a passion for drawing moral conclusions in his pictures based on Scripture, old proverbs, aphorisms, literature.
The feast of St Nicholas has been celebrated in the same way for centuries in the Netherlands. On the eve of 5 December, St Nicholas comes to the Netherlands from Spain to leave appropriate gifts in the shoes of children. Good children receive gifts from the saint. The little girl in the foreground, for instance, has a bucket full of treats. Naughty children, like the wailing boy at the left, get only a bundle of twigs in their shoe. A complicated play of diagonals helps bind the family of ten together - from the heap of pastries to the man pointing to the chimney on the right , where St. Nicholas made his entry. (For more information see H. Perry Chapman, Wouter Kloek and Arthur K. Wheelock, 'Jan Steen: Painter and Storyteller', exh.cat. Washington and Amsterdam, New Haven-London, 1996, cat.no.30.)
Very fine proof impression of this superb steel engraving. This work continues the reproduction prints tradition of the 17th century of the interior scenes.