(b. 1643, Made, d. 1706, Den Haag)

A Boy Blowing on a Firebrand to Light a Candle

Oil on canvas, 75 x 64 cm
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

Night scenes like this were particularly popular amongst Dutch artists, and Schalken specialised in this subject. Although the exact meaning of the boy with a firebrand is not known today, it derived from a painting by the Italian artist Jacopo Bassano and was also enthusiastically adopted by El Greco, who incorporated the motif in his Allegory which is also in the collection of the National Gallery of Scotland. It is likely that Schalcken executed this painting for Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland, while visiting Althorp during the period he spent in Britain.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.