The artwork shows a spinster seated on a chair with a broom and yarn in her hand while her attention is maintained on her weaving. In the image, the woman does not have any other human presence except two animals; a dog and a cat. The artwork has been done entirely through pencil or charcoal art and does not use any other color other than black and white. The woman is surrounded with various objects that are mostly associated with weaving such as a spinning wheel and several yarns. The details in the image such as the house’s design and the subject’s clothing seem to allude that the image is a 17th-century painting. Through the use of symbolic elements and dark lighting, the artwork portrays the woman’s position in the society and her sense of solitude.
The subject of the art piece appears to be a 17th-century spinster that is busy yarning. Her fashion style alludes to the 17th century because of the long, baggy dress that extends beyond a person’s feet. Also, the collar of her dress is reminiscent of the 1600s fashion since it’s oversized. The lady’s hair is covered with a hat while several keys hang from her side. In her hands, she holds a yarn and what appears to be a broom between her armpits. The broom appears to be held in place against her body with an extension of her clothing that seems meant for that purpose. The woman is surrounded with two animals, a cat, and a dog. The dog lies in the foreground while the cat is drawn in the background. The dog appears to hold an object in its mouth, which seems to be the wood that holds a yarn for weaving. The animal’s concentration is centered on the drawing’s main subject, the woman. On the other hand, the cat shows no interest in the human but seems to be focused on a yarn ball. While the dog lies appears to be in a relaxed position, the cat looks ready to pounce due to its posture. Behind the woman, is a spinning wheel that is half-hidden. In front of her is another weaving device that lies unused. In the background, several kitchen items are arranged across a shelf. The artist, reducing their visibility to the viewer, darkly shades the items. One of the house’s doors is wide open, a strange contrast to the several keys that the woman seems to carry. The spinster’s floor is patterned with various symbols that are formed through different shapes. In one of the floor’s squares, the artist has signed their name into the art piece.
Although one cannot directly see the light source, it appears to emanate from outside the house. The woman’s front has a bright glow which shows that the source of lights comes from her house’s exterior. The door to her home cannot be seen as the entrance is completely open. In the far distance, one can witness two houses although no activity can be seen. The entire image is drawn through line shading, which has been used to emphasize the form and structure of the objects. The image is two-dimensional, but certain elements have detailed three-dimensional shading such as the dog. Cross-hatching has also been used as a shading technique especially in the artwork’s background.
The artwork uses its elements and objects to promote a deeper meaning about women in society. The cat lies in a shadowed background, limiting its visibility. It seems to represent mischief, and its ready-to-attack posture symbolizes that it is ready to execute its mischievous plan. Considering that it lies right behind the woman’s chair, it shows that the spinster is hatching a plan and cannot be trusted. Dogs often portray loyalty, which represents the woman’s sense of faithfulness. The woman’s fidelity is emphasized by the dog’s direct stare towards her. The portrayal of the woman with yarn and a broom in her hand represents the designated roles of a female during her time. Women were often seen as responsible for ‘feminine’ roles such as weaving and house chores. The concept is further emphasized by the spinster’s clothing extension that has been designed as a broom holder. All the entrances of the house are open, including the front and interior doors. The artist highlights the woman’s openness to visitors into her house. Even though she has several keys, none of the doors are locked which further accentuates her generosity to visitation. She weaves her yarn in an open entrance, an attempt to have her skills as a spinster seen to the public. The artwork also portrays a theme of isolation and solitude. The woman does not have any other human presence around a home. Furthermore, the dark lighting applied by the artist instills the sense of being alone.
In conclusion, the artwork uses various elements to emphasize women’s position in society. The spinster in the image holds a yarn and is surrounded with spinning wheels. In her arms, she clasps her broom which represents her responsibility as a housekeeper. Through the use of line shading and cross-hatching, the artist creates a desolate environment portraying the woman’s isolation.