This small, cameo-like work displays an extremely delicate interplay of light in a dark room, lit on the left by the fire, and by a window on the right. It shows an elderly metalworker secluded in his foundry, surrouded by the tools of his trade, with the hooded forge glowing in the background. He is standing at his bench, working on a substantial Caritas group. The eloquent affection of the sculptor for his work may be taken as an allegory of an artist's deep attachment to his craft, and one can easily imagine Rembrandt holding the plate on which this was etched with the same affection and tenderness. Some commentators have seen his expression as distracted, perhaps aware that he is soon to part with his creation.
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