Jan Steen The Feast of St Nicholas
oil on canvas, h 82.0cm × w 70.5cm.
The feast of St Nicholas takes place in December. In the Netherlands, it has been celebrated in the same way for centuries. 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 switch (a bundle of twigs) in their shoe. Jan Steen was a born storyteller. He succeeded in incorporating all of the elements of the popular feast in this picture.