Discover all 14 City of Paris museums

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Dirck Van Delen - A scene of gallantry in a palace
David Teniers the Younger - Smokers
Jan Steen - The Little Alms Collector
 Claude Gellée, known as Claude Lorrain - Landscape with the Port of Santa Marinella
Petrus Paulus Rubens - The Abduction of Proserpina
Adriaen Van Ostade - The Analysis
Jacob Jordaens - Diana Resting
 Rembrandt - Self-portrait in Oriental Attire
Meindert Hobbema - The Water Mills
Nicolas de Largillierre - Red-legged partridge in a niche
Henri Mauperché - Composite Landscape
Frans Van Mieris, known as Mieris the Elder - The interrupted song
Nicolas Poussin - The Massacre of the Innocents
Abraham de Vries - Portrait of a man

The Little Alms Collector

Leyde, 1626 - Leyde, 1679
Circa 1663-1665
Oil on wooden panel
59 x 51 cm

The subject of this work was only recently identified satisfactorily as a Pentecostal procession.

The potted plant, a cardamine pratensis, whose flower a young child sitting on a railing offers to the alms collector, is the key to this painting. This common meadow plant, which was unlikely to be depicted as an ornamental plant, is called pinksterbloem in Dutch. The same name, which means “May flower”, is given to the little girl at the head of the processions organised by Catholics on this festival day.

The hesitation over what title to give to this work stems from the fact that Steen produced a parody of the traditional procession. The little girl dressed as a bride and crowned with flowers who walked the streets collecting alms is replaced by a young boy wearing a cap with a paper flower pinned to it.

All Steen’s virtuosity can be seen in this picture: his conveying of the particular textures of the different materials; the refinement of the vivid, rich, intense colours; and the composition organised according to a complex network of geometric lines.

Inventory number: 
Inventory number : PDUT00930
Acquisition details : Dutuit bequest, 1902
Room 26
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