Because today is National Pancake Day — a holiday whose creator, IHOP, offers free pancakes as part of a charity fundraising initiative today — we combed through the breakfast leftovers of art history to find the greatest work of pancake art, and though we briefly considered snacking on Dan “Painter of Pancakes” Lacey’s latest syrupy composition, we opted instead for Rembrandt’s etching “The Pancake Woman” (1635, detail above, in full below).
The etching, versions of which belong to the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and others, shows an older woman preparing pancakes for a group of figures who may be a family or a group of orphans, but in either case look like they’ve had a few too many pancakes. The dog at the bottom-center of the composition, however, has been deprived of pancakes and can be seen greedily grabbing at a disgruntled child’s breakfast.
The figure seen resting its head at far right, meanwhile, seems to be suffering an acute food coma brought on by an exceptionally glutenous National Pancake Day celebration. Of course, the holiday was created 371 years after the Rembrandt etching was made, and is still not recognized in the Netherlands, so the odds that it portrays a National Pancake Day feast are nil.
— Benjamin Sutton
(Image: Rembrandt, or Rembrandt van Rijn, “The Pancake Woman,” 1635. Courtesy the Metropolitan Museum of Art.)