An Old Woman Bleeding a Young Woman, known as 'The Bloodletting'

Quirijn van Brekelenkamc. 1660


Den Haag, Netherlands

Brekelenkam specialised in the subject of ordinary people going about their daily business. Here, he painted an elderly woman bleeding a younger woman. She is using heated pottery cups, which is why she is called a ‘cupper’. Bleeding was supposed to help prevent miscarriages – so the young woman may be pregnant.

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  • Title: An Old Woman Bleeding a Young Woman, known as 'The Bloodletting'
  • Creator: Brekelenkam, Quiringh van
  • Date Created: c. 1660
  • Physical Dimensions: h47.9 cm x w36.7 cm
  • Provenance: Possibly collection Pieter François Clignet, Leiden, 1776; sale Hendrik Twent (anonymous part), Leiden, 11 August 1789 (Lugt 4469), no. 142 (for 175 guilders to Delfos); Menno Baron Van Coehoorn; his sale, Amsterdam, 19 October 1801 (Lugt 6320), no. 8 (for 355 guilders to Th. Spaan); Pieter de Smeth van Alphen, Amsterdam; his sale, Amsterdam, 1-2 August 1810 (Lugt 7842), no. 16 (for 275 guilders to Van I(Y)peren for Bredius sr.); Abraham Bredius, Naarden, 1810-1863; his grandson Abraham Bredius, Amsterdam and The Hague, before 1889-1946 (on loan to the Mauritshuis since 1892); bequest of Abraham Bredius, 1946
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on panel