Jan Havicksz. Steen ca. 1626 – 1679

The Worship of the Golden Calf

oil on canvas (178 × 156 cm) — c. 1672-1675 Museum North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina

Jan Havicksz. Steen biography

This work is linked to Exodus 32:4

In the absence of Moses the people ask his brother Aaron to give them a God they can worship. Hearing them, Aaron asks them for a sacrifice: they need to hand over all their golden jewellery. Out of all the gold a calf is then cast.

In this painting the calf is in the background, on a pillar. The priest is Aaron, speaking to the dancing crowd.

In the foreground Steen situated a party, with music and cheer. Note how the man in the center sticks the beater into the triangle while giving the lady next to him a meaningful look.

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