Marriage at Cana
Jan Steen (Dutch, c.1626-1679)
On View

The story of Christ’s first public miracle, performed at a wedding feast in the village of Cana, appears in the second chapter of John. Finding that the wine has been exhausted, Jesus transforms six stone jars filled with water into the finest wine. Jan Steen, who painted the subject six times, never depicted the miracle directly. Instead, he incorporated the event into the larger tableau of the wedding party. Jesus’ presence is hardly noticeable as he performs the miracle quietly in the middle ground.

Steen’s treatment of the religious subject demonstrates how fluidly he mingled historical and contemporary events. Here the act of drinking in celebration of love seems to be a subject equal to that of the miracle. People hold up glasses for a toast, partake of the wine and offer drinks to others, most unaware of the
dramatic transformation that has taken place.


  • Artist Name: Jan Steen (Dutch, c.1626-1679)
  • Title: Marriage at Cana
  • Date: 1676
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 31-3/8 x 43 in. (79.7 x 109.2 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1969.21.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

Johanna Ghijs, widow of Pieter Anthony Bonenfandt, Zoerterwoude (sale 19 April 1775, lot 6).
[John Blackwood, London (sale London, Christie’s, 20–21 February 1778, lot 62)].
John Lecomte in Edouard O(utran) sale, (Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 18 January 1877, lot 27, bought in by John Lecomte).
Prince Paul Anatolii Demidoff (1839–1885), San Donato, Florence (sale San Donato, Pillet, 15 March 1880, lot 1126, sold for 10,000).
Alexis-Joseph Febvre (1810–1881), Paris (sale Paris, Hotel Drouot, 17–20 April 1882, lot 84, bought in or sold to Brame for fr. 4355);
Febvre, Beurnonville et al. (sale Paris, Hotel Drouot, 20 March 1883, lot 49).
Laurent-Richard collection, Paris (sale Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 28–29 May 1886, lot 45, sold or bought in for ff. 7200 to Laurent’s daughter); Madame Jean Martin Charcot (née Victoire Augustine Laurent), Paris (†sale Paris, Chevallier, 6–9 July 1900, lot 12, ill.).
[Galerie Charles Sedelmeyer, Paris, from at least 1906 (sale Paris, 25–28 May 1907, lot 176, sold for 27,000 to)];
S. Oppenheimer for;
(?) Otto Gerstenberg, Berlin, still in 1929.
[D. Katz, Dieren].
[Duits, London, no. 6073, from August 1930, half share from 1935 with Goudstikker, Amsterdam (no. 2643)];
Acquired July 1940 by Goering;
Sold 31 March 1942 to [Goudstikker/Miedl, Amsterdam]; Sent 1942 by Alois Miedl to Switzerland, where recovered in 1945.
[Duits, London (?)].
[P. de Boer, Switzerland, on consignment to P. de Boer, Amsterdam, July 1956, sold August, 1956 to];
Professor A. H. Kleiweg de Zwaan, Neerlangbroek, 1956–1962;
Heirs of A. H. Kleiweg de Zwaan, on consignment to;
[P. de Boer, Amsterdam, sold 1968 to];
[Frederick Mont, Inc., New York, sold 1969 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

Se Tercentenaire de Rembrandt

  • Frederick Muller et Cie, 1906-07-10 to 1906-09-15

Rembrandt Tentoonstelling

  • Rijksmuseum, 1906 to

Tenth Series of 100 Paintings by Old Masters

  • Paris, Galerie Charles Sedemyer, 1906 to

Tentoonstelling Bijbelsche Kunst

  • Rijksmuseum, 1939 to

Kersttentoonstelling 1955

  • Kunsthandel P. de Boer, 1955 to 1956

Mens e Muzick

  • Dordrechts Museum, 1957 to

La Découverte de la lumiére des primitifs aux impresssionistes

  • Galerie des beaux-arts de Bordeaux, 1959 to

Miracula Christi

  • Utrecht, Aartsbisschoppelijk Museum, 1962-06 to 1962-08

Collection 1956

  • Kunsthandel P. de Boer, 1956 to 1956-09-30

Reinstallation of Galleries: Art History of the 17th and 18th Century Gains Fresh Dimension

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1993-09-02 to 1995-08-13

Tulips are in Bloom

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1993-04-29 to 1993-08
  • Fischel, O., The Burlington Magazine, pp. 60, 65
  • Weston, W., Quarto,
  • Martin, W., Jan Steen, pp. 71, 80
  • Bax, D., Hollandse en vlaamse schilderkunst in Zuid-Africa, p. 115, 122
  • Sutton, Peter and M. Butler, Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin,
  • de Jonge, C., Jan Steen, pp. 24, 56
  • Illustrated Catalogue of the Tenth Series of 100 Paintings by Old Masters, no. 38
  • De Jonge, C. H., Jan Steen, p. 58
  • Martin, W., Zeitschrift für Bildende Kunst, p. 328
  • Bredius, A., Jan Steen, p. 34
  • van Gelder, J., Oud Holland, pp. 209-210
  • Saint-Groux, A., Les Arts, p. 20
  • Hofstede de Groot, C., A Catalogue Raisonné of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, no. 50 p. 14
  • Gerson, Horst, The Connoisseur, pl. C. p. 171
  • Rembrandt Toonstelling, 1906, no. 50
  • Tercentenaire de Rembrandt, 1906, no. 115
  • Schmidt-Degerner, F., et al., Toonstelling Bijbelsche Kunst, 1939, no. 121b p. 121
  • Gudlaugsson, S., De Komedianten bij Jan Steen, 1945, p. 6
  • Hofstede de Groot, C., Jan Steen, beeld en woord, 1952, p. 178
  • Kersttentoonstelling 1955, 1955,
  • Catalogue of Old Pictures Exhibited at the Gallery of C. V. Kunsthandel P. de Boer, Amsterdam, 1956, 1956,
  • Mens en Muziek, Neerlandse meesters uit vijf eeuwen, 1957, cat. no. 75
  • Martin-Méry, Gilberte, Exposition internationale (9th in 1959 in Bordeaux, France). La découverte de la lumiére des primitifs aux impressionistes, 1959, no. 127 p. 67
  • Het Wonder. Miracula Christi, 1962, no. 94 p. 88
  • Stechow, W., Nederlands Kunsthistorisches Jaarboek, 1972, n. 22 pp. 73-81, 83
  • Kirschenbaum, B., The Religious and Historical Paintings of Jan Steen, 1977, no. 50, fig. 95 pp. 52, 54, 73, 82, 95, 133
  • Norton Simon Museum, Selected Paintings at the Norton Simon Museum, 1980, p. 59
  • Braun, Karel, Alle tot nu toe bekende schilderijen van Jan Steen, 1980, no. 369 p. 142
  • Haak, B., The Golden Age: Dutch Painters of the 17th Century, 1984, pp. 430-431
  • Sutton, Peter C., A Guide to Dutch Art in America, 1986, p. 319
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum, 1989, p. 59
  • Heppner, A., Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 1991, p. 43
  • Chapman, H. and Arthur Wheelock et al., Jan Steen: Painter and Storyteller, 1996, fig. 2 p. 218
  • DeBoer, Lisa, A Broken Beauty, 2005, fig. 12 pp. 52- 54, 139
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best, 2010, cat. 660 p. 324
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Additional Artwork by Artist

Bathsheba Jan Steen late 1660s
Jacob Confronting Laban Jan Steen c. 1667-68
Wine is a Mocker Jan Steen 1663-64

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