Antonio Carneo
(Concordia Sagittaria 1637 – Portogruaro 1692)

Old Woman with Distaff and Young Woman with Ears of Wheat

Oil on canvas, 90 x 81 cm (35 x 32 inches)


Fair coloured ears of wheat mix with the young lady’s bun and her shoulders are bare. It is summer – harvest time. The exchange between the two women takes place at a farmhouse, sheltered under a shady bough. “It is an ancient tale, almost entirely forgotten now.» High above their heads, the spindle is a warning of the brevity of those sunny days (“l’estate sta finendo e un anno se ne va”; “summer is ending and a year passes by”) and the fleeting nature of beauty, and speaks to us as mute spectators overlooking the scene from the frame of a picture – de brevitate vitae.