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Girl threading a Needle by Candlelight
  • Date: late 1670s
  • Object Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on oak panel
  • Image size: 19.3 x 15.6 cm
  • Frame size: 30.6 x 28.3 cm
  • Inv: P171
  • Location: East Galleries I
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Further Reading
  • This is a characteristic candle-lit scene demonstrates Schalcken exceptional talent as a painter of nocturnes. A young, seated woman is shown threading a needle by candlelight.
    Schalcken was first trained as a painter by Samuel van Hoogstraten in Dordrecht, where his family moved in 1654. He completed his training with Gerrit Dou the foremost fine painter in Leiden, after which he moved to Dordrecht in 1665 where he became the city's leading artist. He specialized in small-scale genre paintings such as this one, but also painted portraits of wealthy citizens. In 1692 he travelled to London where he lived for five years, painting mainly nocturnal scenes like the one shown here. The subject and composition derive from a painting by Dou. The youth and elegance of the girl, together with the close viewpoint, suggest the influence of both Frans van Mieris and Caspar Netscher.