This painting looks innocuous enough. A young woman works at night, giving Schalcken an opportunity to do what he loved: linger on the golden effects of candlelight. This Dutch artist of the late 1600s worked in a tradition of dramatic lighting and shadow started by Caravaggio about 70 years earlier. In Schalcken’s work the Caravaggesque is softened: what might once have been a penitent Magdalene with a skull becomes, here, a peaceful domestic scene. Or does it? The gothic writer Sheridan le Fanu proposed another interpretation of Schalcken’s night scenes. His story Schalcken the Painter tells how this artist, as a young pupil of Gerrit Dou, saw his master’s daughter get a proposal of marriage from a dead-eyed, grey-faced stranger. The terrifying consequences are dramatised in a classic BBC adaptation that’s a true Halloween treat – see it and you’ll always shudder in front of this artist’s chiaroscuro scenes.