Steen is best known for his witty and chaotic scenes of everyday life designed to educate and entertain. They often convey a moral message connected with Dutch proverbs, and his own paintings gave rise to disorderly domestic arrangements being described as a ‘Jan Steen household’. Steen’s delightful depiction of children emphasises their natural exuberance and tendency to misbehave if unchecked. He also painted portraits and biblical and mythological scenes. He was born in Leiden, and lived in various cities in the Netherlands. He was in Haarlem from 1661 until 1670 where he produced some of his finest paintings.