A Boy and a Girl with a Cat and an Eel by Judith Leyster (1635)
Judith Leyster’s 1635 oil on canvas painting depicts exactly what its title reveals. The painting is currently held at the National Gallery in London. More than the beauty of the piece, its name is often interpreted by scholars.
Some have associated Leyster’s work with the Dutch proverb: “Een aal bij de staart hebben” (or “to hold an eel by the tail”). The meaning behind the phrase is meant to convey the idea that you do not get to hold onto something just because you have it. And, an eel isn’t something you’d want to hold for too long, if at all.