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.

Updated before 2020

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

Godfried Schalcken