An old woman warming her hands, a boy blowing on the embers and a youth looking into the fire with a pensive expression are gathered around a coal basin. The light of the fire throws a bright gleam on the wrinkled, burrowed countenance of the old woman as well as on the contrasting, round face of the child. The richly effective chiaroscuro of the night scene underscores the symbolic character of the representation, which can be traditionally read as an allegory of the tree ages.


  • Title: Old Woman with a Basket of Coal
  • Date Created: ca. 1616 - 1618
  • Physical Dimensions: w920 x h1160 cm
  • Painter: Peter Paul Rubens
  • Collection: Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery)
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Photograph: Hans Peter Klut/Elke Estel
  • External Link: http://www.skd.museum/

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