An Old Woman scouring a Pot

The old woman, the broken pot, the butterfly and the empty candle-holder are all elements which, taken together, identify the painting as a 'vanitas', an allegory of the transience of life.

This is an early work in the style of Schalcken's teacher, Gerrit Dou. It is reminiscent of Dou's 'niche paintings' - an interior seen through an aperture.

Key facts

Artist dates
1643 - 1706
Full title
An Old Woman scouring a Pot
Date made
Medium and support
Oil on oak
28.5 x 22.8 cm
Inscription summary
Acquisition credit
Wynn Ellis Bequest, 1876
Inventory number
Location in Gallery