Discussion and comparison of 2 works of Art from the MET. "Merry Company on a Terrace" by Jan Steen vs. "Modern Rome" by Giovanni Paolo Panini.

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Every artwork is unique and beautiful in its own way. All of them try to grab our attention. Each of them undertakes a very difficult task of bring out some sort of emotion in us. Weather that emotion is an admiration or even repugnance. If it triggered any of those, the artist was successful. Paintings such as Merry Company on a Terrace by Jan Steen and Modern Rome by Giovanni Paolo Panini could certainly be put in that category.

Merry Company on a Terrace by Jan Steen was created in circa 1673-75. It is fairly large oil on canvas painting. The name gives us briefly description of what is basically going on in the picture. Just from reading the title alone we already expect certain themes of celebration, happiness and joy of life. This is exactly what the painting illustrates. A group of ordinary people gathered from all over celebrating some sort of exciting and happy event.

The first thing that would probably grab your attention while looking at the painting would probably be a young child in the lover left. It is certainly not a typical child that we usually see in paintings. The child is simply extremely ugly. This in a way gives us a hint to go back and look more carefully at every character in the picture. Generally except may be for few exceptions they just as repulsive as the child. There is certainly no idealization going on in this work of art. Jan Steen is showing us an every day seen in a common everyday life. Every one is in their every day close, dirty and somewhat drunk.

It is noted by historians on the wall text that Jan Steen actually captured him self and his second wife in the panting. He is depicted a...