Collection Online
Death and an old woman
oil on wood panel
37.3 × 33.6 cm
Place/s of Execution
the Netherlands
inscribed in brown paint l.c.r.: C B
Accession Number
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1874
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
17th Century & Flemish Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
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’.