The Paintingin a tweet.
It was painted by dutch painter Sebastian Vrancx. It can be viewed in high resolution HERE.
The number 1608 on the box below the pan suggests that is was painted in that year.
It shows the season "winter" as an intricate allegory and I think I decoded some of it.
The Still LifeThe assorted items arranged on the floor of the damaged hut all represent aspects of winter and winter activities. They are arranged in some sort of timeline, starting on the left with the last vegetable of the year in late autumn / early winter (also the wood, coal that should be gathered before winter truly starts. Above those a couple seems to slaughter an animal for winter supply) and ending with lesser celandine and crocus flowers on the right that herald the spring. Lesser celandine used to be the first green thing people were able to gather and eat in spring. It thus was known to cure scurvy. It was of great importance to people back then. (Though you can only eat it before it starts blooming, but in this case painting the blooming plant makes sense as an artistic choice.)
The candle and the "Duivekater" in the middle of the still life represent the sinter claas / christmas / 12 holy days celebration in winter. Lighting candles in those days is still a living tradition. I am not aware of the meaning of the crowned hat.The ugly child in the background also wears one of those.
The dice that lie below the mask and clothes represent carnival. Gambling with dice was banned in the Netherlands, the ban was only lifted during carnival. The masks also point in that direction.
It should be noted that the clothes on the floor are seemingly identical to those that the masked man in the background wears. Also note that the old man, no doubt being the human representation of winter, seems to wear red below the respectable black coat.
I wonder what the slip of paper below the "Duivekater" is.
All in all I lack the background in Dutch culture to make sense of many of the things. So no doubt I miss a lot of things here. Without help I would never have identified the loaf as a "Duivekater", though I suspected it to be some sort of festival loaf.
And, also very interesting, the dice sides don't seem to be arbitrary and don't match conventional dice design. I suspect the numbers (11 and 4) have some meaning. No idea what.
Edit: The riddle of the box was solved! It was used to warm your feet!
The three masked peopleVery weird figures indeed!
The man wears a bright red shirt and brown trousers with a quite prominent codpiece. He seems to be young, agile and has muscled legs that he proudly shows off.
Male legs were back then very important for male attractiveness and still are in alpine regions. Showing off legs and the codpiece like that indicates sexuality, fertility. He apparently wears a necklace made of
The masked woman next to him also wears sausages around her neck. She also wears a sort of sun hat. He holds her hand while seeming to walk in front of her. While he strides, she seems to walk more slowly. I think she is summer.
The completely veiled woman that follows them seems to be older, she's not walking as straight. She has to be autumn. Though I have no idea why she carries the white sheets. Maybe an analogy to Mother Hulda bringing snow from her down pillows and blankets? Maybe burial shrouds for the dying year? No idea.
Both wear veils because, like the next spring, they symbolize the future, which we can't know until it arrives.
So, that's it.
I don't expect many people to stumble over this or ask the same questions. But if you do and you can help me understand the dice or the hat-crowns, please leave a comment and help me out! Thank you!