About this artwork

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’ (NG 2419) 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.

  • title:
    A Boy Blowing on a Firebrand to Light a Candle
  • accession number:
    NG 2495
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • subject:
  • glossary:
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • date created:
    About 1692 - 1698
  • measurements:
    75.00 x 63.50 cm (framed: 104.00 x 92.00 x 10.00 cm)
  • credit line:
    Purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund 1989
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

Godfried Schalcken

Godfried Schalcken