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Feast & Fast

The Art of Food in Europe, 1500 – 1800

235: The pancake woman

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)

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