Joos van Craesbeeck

Neerlinter ca. 1605/6 – Brussels ca. 1660/1

An Interior with an old Woman and a Man Blood-letting
An Allegory of the Sense of Touch

Oil on panel
H. 25,2 cm. W. 20,2 cm.


Sale Sotherby’s | London | 7 February 1976 | Lot 108 
With Guy Folkner | Sint-Martens-Latem
Private collection | Antwerp

With an expertise by Guy Folkner, dd. 2 October 1979

The present work is recored at the RKD in the The Hague under nr. 393065


The practice of ‘blood-letting’ (‘aderlaten’ in Dutch) the withdrawal of blood from a patient to prevent or cure illness and disease, was based on an ancient system of medicine in which blood and other bodily fluids were regarded as ‘humours’ that had to remain in proper balance to maintain health. The theme of blood-letting as an allochory on the sense of touch was also explored by the Antwerp master Gonzales Coques in a cycle of the five senses (Touch, oil on pnale, H 15,1 cm. W. 19,4 cm., collection National Gallery, London, inv./cat. nr NG1116). Another cycle, oil on panel, H. 18 cm. W. 15 cm. painted ca. 1640 is kept in the collection of the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, (inv./cat. nr 760). The present work by Joos van Craesbeeck was influenced by Adriaen Brouwer and David Teniers the Younger. Especial works by the latter dating to the 1640s appear to have influenced the present picture.