Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)
menu

Boys Blowing Bubbles

Boys Blowing Bubbles

1640s

Michaelina Wautier

Flemish, 1604 - 1689

A boy blows bubbles with a straw as his friend tries to catch one in his hat. The bubble-a perfect orb which can pop at any moment-is a familiar symbol of the fragility and brevity of life. To enforce the point, the artist includes a snuffed-out candle and an hourglass in the background. The open book and half-hidden musical instrument may refer to the idea that art outlasts life, which of course is part of the point of the painting itself.
Oil on canvas
35 5/8 x 47 3/4 in. (90.5 x 121.3 cm)
Gift of Mr. Floyd Naramore
58.140
Provenance: Miss S. Morant and Miss V. E. Morant, England; [David M. Koetser Gallery, New York, by 1958]; purchased from gallery by Seattle Art Museum (funds from Floyd A. Naramore), December 30, 1958
location
Not currently on view

Media

Resources

Exhibition HistoryLondon, Burlington Gallery, Royal Academy, "Winter Exhibition, Flemish Exhibition" 1953-1954, cat. no. 468.

Walla Walla, Washington, Whitman College, "The Olin Humanities Building Dedication Show", 1972, cat. no. 49 (exh. cat. p. 16)

Bellevue, Washington, Bellevue Art Museum, "5,000 Years Of Faces", January 28 - July 30, 1983.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Seattle Art Museum Permanent Collection Installation", 1995 - 1998

Raleigh, North Carolina, North Carolina Museum of Art, "Sinners and Saints, Darkness and Light: Caravaggio and his Dutch and Flemish Followers in America", 9/29-12/13/98; Milwaukee Art Museum, 1/29-4/18/99; Dayton Art Institute, 5/8-7/18/99 (09/29/1998 - 04/18/1999)

Antwerp, Belgium, Museem aan de Stroom, Michelina, Jun 1 - Sept 2, 2018.
Published ReferencesVan der Stighelen, Katlijne. Michaelina Wautier: Glorifying a Forgotten Talent 1604 - 1689. Exh. Cat. Antwerp: Museum aan de Stroom, 2018; p. 221, 239, 245, reproduced cat. 19 [not in exhibition].