Netherlandish School, c. 1525
Netherlandish School, c. 1525

An Allegory of Virtue; and an Allegory of Death

Details
Netherlandish School, c. 1525
An Allegory of Virtue; and an Allegory of Death
the first inscribed: 'Als · sterckheit · compt · met · haer · ghewelt / So · wort · ionckheit · ter · neder · ghevelt·'
the second inscribed: 'Noiit · niewat · ter · werlt · so · sterk · gehacht / Die · doot · die · heeft · hely · ioudr · ghebracht'
oil on panel
49.6 x 36.2 cm.; and 49.8 x 36.2 cm.
a pair
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 6 June 2012, lot 3, where purchased by the father of the present owners.

Brought to you by

Kimberley Oldenburg
Kimberley Oldenburg

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Lot Essay

The present lot represents a sequence in the struggle between Virtue and Death. In the first painting the personification of Fortitude, or Chastity, rides a unicorn and overtakes a winged Cupid in a dramatic encounter, alluding to the power of reason over physical temptation. In the second painting, Death holds a skull, the classic vanitas symbol, and similarly triumphs over the once mighty reason. Seen as a progression, the pair may be read as a didactic lesson in the way to lead a noble life: reason should supercede primal love, and death supercedes all worldly aspirations.

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