This tiny etching shows an elderly street- vendor preparing pancakes for eagerly waiting children to consume. Pancakes were a type of food traditionally associated with Carnival, a period of excess and debauchery immediately before Lent, the solemn fasting season when certain foods like meat and dairy products were forbidden. Made with butter and eggs, pancakes were a useful way to use up ingredients that would otherwise go off during Lent.
Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 – 69)
Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1635
Etching Transferred from Cambridge University Library, 1876 (AD.12.39-127)