Stove Panel [Tile] of a Ceramic Stove, Representing the Last Stage of Life

Probably South Germany, first half 17th century

In the Late Middle Ages closed stoves fired from outside replaced open chimney heating in the living rooms of burgher houses and farms. In Graubünden these were either soapstone or ceramic stoves made of assembled tiles such as this one. The outer surface of these tiles was glazed and gaily coloured and often also decorated with reliefs or paintings.

On our tile an old man can be seen sitting, next to him Death is already standing ready. The representation of different stages of life is a typical motif of the late Renaissance. The figure of Death with the sand glass in his hand is intended as a reminder of transience.