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.

A. R.

City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

The collections portal can be used to search the collections of Paris’s 14 municipal museums (approximately 336,000 works, including 43,000 belonging to the Petit Palais).

It is also possible to download around 12,000 images of the museum’s works free of charge.

Access the Museums of the City of Paris collections portal
Autre base documentaire

Extern databases

Discover a selection of databases online presenting works from the Petit Palais or documents concerning the history of the museum.