Jan Havicksz Steen (ca. 1625-1679) was born in Leiden, the son of a brewer. Educated at a Latin school, in 1646 he enrolled at Leiden university yet never graduated. Instead, he took an apprenticeship as a painter, although little is known about this. Eighteenth-century biographers record that his teachers included Nicolaus Knupfer, Adriaen van Ostade and landscapist Jan van Goyen. In 1648, already a master, he helped set up a guild of artists in Leiden, in which he served in various capacities. Steen painted a huge number of works, especially genre paintings showing cheerful people having fun. He also painted portraits, as well as historical scenes. To augment his income, Steen started a brewery in Delft and opened a tavern at his house. Biographers have described him as a man with little sense of restraint, yet that seems to be based more on his paintings than on hard fact. Jan Steen is buried in St Pieter's church in Leiden



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