Joos van Craesbeeck was the only known pupil of the Flemish genre painter Adriaen Brouwer and became a leading painter known for his quirky, often macabre, sense of humour. This homely scene reflects his characteristically wry view of mortality. A skeleton creeps up on an elderly woman, who is surrounded by familiar symbols of death. Outside, a second skeleton takes possession of a coffin in a churchyard. Behind the woman a message warns the viewer that ‘No bird, flesh or fish has ever dodged it, they don’t miss shooting’. A second inscription states: ‘My body is/has been preserved; I know not where my soul dwells’.