A boy blows on a burning ember between a man and a monkey.

The meaning is obscure - allegorical, moral, or the recreation of a lost work from a classical text, ekphrasis. It is likely that the picture illustrates a Spanish proverb: 'Man is fire; Woman is tow; and the devil blows them into flame'. It certainly seems that Fabula contained some warning as to the consequences of 'playing with fire'. This painting has a lightness of touch and fluency of form. This work was acquired with assistance from the Wolfson Foundation.

Provenance

Feret, Paris; C.Cherfils, Paris; Dr James Simon (Berlin), sale Amsterdam, 1927.




Exhibitions at Scottish National Gallery

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