Bernardo Eberhart Keilhau (1624-87), A Boy and a Girl with a Brazier, c. 1655-60

Bernardo Eberhart Keilhau (1624-87), A Girl and a Boy with a Brazier, c. 1655- 1660.
Oil on canvas. 77 x 131 cm. KMS4472.
Download the image in high resolution Public Domain

Two children dressed in winter clothes sit down to warm their hands at a clay brazier filled with glowing coals. The boy has put down his toy, a spinning top, gazing out at us attentively as he warms his hands. The girl’s eyes have a more remote, slightly melancholy look.

Cosmological allegories
At first glance this motif looks like one of the many everyday scenes found in sixteenth century art, but it is in fact an allegory, a visual rendition of an abstract concept. It may be one of the four seasons (Winter), one of the four elements (Fire), one of the four temperaments (Melancholia), or one of the four ages of Man (Childhood).. Such allegorical series have their roots in the cosmological worldview of the era, where everything was perceived as interlinked, with God in his Heaven as the creator of all things.

Updated: 26.apr.2018
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