Skip to main content
An Old Man writing by Candlelight
Jozef Israëls
/

An old man writes by the glow of a candle; it appears to be the only source of light in the darkened room. A collection of framed prints and drawings crowded on the wall is barely visible. Wide cracks caused by paint shrinkage run across the canvas, revealing the white ground and making the details of the composition hard to decipher.

Jean Charles Joseph Drucker, the previous owner of the painting, referred to it as ‘The Philosopher’. The title might be the one given by Jozef Israëls, who was a friend of Drucker. The artist has drawn on a long tradition in Dutch art of depicting scholars in their studies. The subtle light effects are reminiscent of Rembrandt, an artist Israëls greatly admired and with whom he was often compared by critics. This was among the first works by a contemporary Dutch artist to be shown at the National Gallery.

Key facts
Artist Jozef Israëls
Artist dates 1824 - 1911
Full title An Old Man writing by Candlelight
Date made about 1885-99
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 65 x 54.6 cm
Inscription summary Signed
Acquisition credit Presented by J.C.J. Drucker, 1910
Inventory number NG2713
Location in Gallery Not on display
Download image
Download low-resolution image

Download an 800px wide, 72dpi copy of this image.

License this image

License and download a high resolution image for reproductions up to A3 size from the National Gallery Picture Library.

License image
Download low resolution image

This image is licensed for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons agreement.

Examples of non-commercial use are:

  • Research, private study, or for internal circulation within an educational organisation (such as a school, college or university)
  • Non-profit publications, personal websites, blogs, and social media

The image file is 800 pixels on the longest side.

As a charity, we depend upon the generosity of individuals to ensure the collection continues to engage and inspire. Help keep us free by making a donation today.

Yes, I'd like to donate
Or
Download low resolution image

You must agree to the Creative Commons terms and conditions to download this image.

Creative Commons Logo