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Giovanni Giacometti (Swiss, 1868–1933), Der Scherenschleifer (1891)

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Oil on canvas
56 x 44.5 cm

Der Scherenschleifer (which is fun to try to say) translates to "the scissor grinder." When we lived in Bogotá, Colombia, there was a scissor/knife sharpener who rode a bicycle in the streets of our neighborhood, calling out "Afilar cuchillos tijeras." Then the maids would hurry out to the street with knives and scissors wrapped in towels. The wheel in this painting may belong to a cart or it may be part of the sharpening mechanism (speculation on my part).
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@onefootonepeel Probably. Although I remember the man in Bogotá having a much smaller wheel.

it was probably fixed to his cart, so it could be held stationary. he would want to hold each blade with both hands, and his foot or leg would work the treadle to make the grinder go around


Thank you, @SARAHARDWICK and @bowsebet58. I remember milk, eggs, and laundry being delivered to our house in the US in the 1950s. It was nice to have that.

During the Depression, I remember men coming door to door with trays of medicines -- iodine, Bandaids, MercuroChrome, cough medicine, Unguentine, etc. The tray was on a strap around his neck, like the trays "cigarette girls" of the 40s used to use in the saloons. My sister and I were always afraid Mummy would buy iodine!! I also remember the horse and cart vegetable man, and the fishmonger.


Thank you dear Blue ! I remember not only the knife grinder but also the rag bone man ( with his horse and cart ) and the vegetable man , Mr Bainbridge, ( also with horse and cart) who all came round regularly to our house. !! What it is to be so ancient as to remember these delights !! @Bluestockings

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