Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Spectacle seller

In an often repeated theme, Adriaen van Ostade (1610–1685), painter of the Dutch Golden Age, presents a spectacle seller. He offers his wares to an older woman, watched by a child or perhaps an apprentice of the seller. As we can see in his hands, the spectacles are without temples to rest on the ear and instead pinch the bridge of the nose, clearly not the most practical or advanced approach from our modern perspective.

Ostade was devoted to illustrating village events such as this one. He paid particular attention to the beauty in these rough scenes, which we can see in the joy of the recipient’s eye and the trailing ivy over the window.

 The Spectacle Seller by Adriaen van Ostade. 1610–85. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public domain.

Winter 2020



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