National Gallery at 150

Major William Clunes, died 1829Major William Clunes, died 1829 Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1864 - 1932)Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1864 - 1932) Diana and ActaeonDiana and Actaeon St Peter PenitentSt Peter Penitent An Old Woman Cooking EggsAn Old Woman Cooking Eggs Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778)Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 - 1778) The Sacrament of PenanceThe Sacrament of Penance The StormThe Storm Diego Martelli (1839 - 1896)Diego Martelli (1839 - 1896) The Three Graces (Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia)The Three Graces (Aglaia, Euphrosyne and Thalia)

Diego Velázquez

An Old Woman Cooking Eggs

"This is my favourite kind of painting - one in which I can discern a story. There are things that have just been said and things that are about to be said. A whole relationship between the two characters can be unpacked. Meantime, there's the brilliant play of light and shadow to be admired. Velazquez hints at much but leaves the ultimate meaning to each individual viewer."

Ian Rankin, novelist

"To me this is a wonderful painting because of the humanity of the subject matter and it's about food -- one of my passions -- and it reminds me of Majorca, where we have a house. They still use those beautiful earthenware bowls, those pitchers -- enduring features of village life. The woman has wonderful strong features; I know women who look just like her. You can also almost hear the eggs frying!"

Kirsty Wark, TV presenter/producer

"I love this painting for the face of the woman, the face of the boy and the amazing detail of the still life, or rather not-so-still life in the case of the frying eggs. The woman's face is full of vitality and wisdom, somehow putting up with life."

Giles Havergal, actor/director

"I first saw this painting as child on a rare visit to Edinburgh. The immediacy, intimacy and very human familiarity of the faces of the old woman and young boy, and the frying eggs, left me awe-struck that an object nearly 400-years-old could connect so fundamentally with my ten-year-old self. It was only on ‘finding' the painting again as a student that I came to fully appreciate the genius of Velazquez, his sublime mastery - and my gratitude for our national policies of public access to great art."

Bridget McConnell, Chief Executive of Culture and Sport Glasgow

  • Credits Purchased with the aid of the Art Fund and a Treasury Grant 1955
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 100.50 x 119.50 cm (framed: 148.00 x 128.60 x 7.60 cm)