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Love Sickness by Jan Steen
Amongst the genre scenes that brought Steen popularity and fame, there are almost twenty showing a doctor's visit to a bourgois home. As theatrical as any Commedia dell'arte play, they present scenes full of misunderstandings, secrets, assumptions and indiscretions.
The "illnesses" of the patients are generally unforeseen pregnancy or lovesickness. The bed with the painting of lovers hanging over it, and the statue of Amor on the draughtscreen of the door immediately indicate to the spectator what is going on. The basin of coals in the foreground with the burning thread - quack doctors diagnosed pregnancy by "reading" the smoke - and the maid with her suitor at the door are further typical features of this genre.
The patient, whose pulse the doctor is counting, has a note in her hand on which the following words are written: "Daar baat gen/medesyn/want het is/minepeyn" ("No medicine can cure the pain of love").
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