Jan Steen: The Satyr and the Peasant (1660-1662)

(The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California, USA)

This painting shows a story from Aesop's Fables. According to the tale a satyr met a peasant in the forest in deep winter. The peasant was blowing on his fingers and when the satyr asked why the peasant was doing this, the peasant answered that he was trying to warm them. Impressed by his ability to warm his hands that way, the peasant was invited by the satyr for a meal (Jan Steen has moved this to the house of the peasant). When the soup was served the peasant blows on his soup. Again the satyr asked why he was doing this. The peasant answered that he was cooling the soup. The satyr got angry and left the house and said he cannot trust someone who blows "both hot and cold with the same breath." The fable was very popular and was frequently painted. Painting from 1660-1662.