Jan Havickszoon Steen (c. 1626 – buried February 3, 1679) was a Dutch genre painter of the 17th century (also known as the Dutch Golden Age). Psychological insight, sense of humour and abundance of colour are marks of his trade.
Steen was born in Leiden, where his well-to-do, Catholic family were brewers and ran the tavern The Red Halbert for two generations. Like his even more famous contemporary Rembrandt van Rijn Jan Steen attended the Latin school and became a student in Leiden. He received his painterly education from Nicolaes Knupfer (1603–1660), a German painter of historical and figurative scenes in Utrecht. Influences of Knupfer can be found in Steen's use of composition and colour. Another source of inspiration were Adriaen van Ostade and Isaac van Ostade, painters of rural scenes, who lived in Haarlem. Whether Steen actually studied with Ostade is not known.
In 1648 Jan Steen and Gabriel Metsu founded the painters' Guild of Saint Luke at Leiden. Soon after he became an assistant to the renowned landscape painter Jan van Goyen and moved into his house on the Bierkade in The Hague. On Oct 3, 1649 he married van Goyen's daughter Margriet, with whom he would have eight children. Steen worked with his father-in-law until 1654, when he moved to Delft, where he ran brewery De Roscam (The Curry Comb) (or De Slang (The Snake)) without much success. After the explosion in Delft in 1654 the art market was depressed, but Steen painted his famous A Burgomaster of Delft and his daughter. It does not seem to be clear is this painting shoud be called a portrait or a genre work.