Jost Amman, An Allegory of a Prosperous Germany, drawing

Germany, AD 1586

Jost Amman (1539-91) was born in Switzerland but in 1561 moved to Nuremberg, Germany, which was a prosperous and important city in the sixteenth century. He is known for his book illustrations, of which he was a prolific designer, published by Sigmund Feyerabend in Frankfurt. He also made single sheet woodcuts and etchings, as well as designs for stained glass and ornamental metalwork.

This drawing in pen and black ink with grey wash was probably made for reproduction as a print. It is entitled at the bottom: GERMANIA FLORESCENS ('Prosperous Germany'). Seated in the centre of the drawing is Pallas Athene, the Greek goddess of wisdom. She is attended by Bacchus and Ceres who together represent the abundance of drink and food. In the foreground are two German river gods: the Rhine on the left, the Danube on the right. Water flows from beside them, filled with eels, fish and birds.

In the sky above, various figures with Latin titles represent further aspects of Germany's victorious and harmonious rule. The figure of Victory rides an eagle on the left and on the right, the figures of Religion, Prudence and Understanding, represent peace. Faith and Constancy rule in the centre, topped by Justice who is crowned by Fame. In the background are details of life and work which reflect the allegorical figures above. To the left are scenes of mining, hunting and warfare. To the right are scenes of shipping and trade, astronomy, painting, printing and building.

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More information


J. Rowlands, Master drawings and watercolou (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)

J. Chipps Smith, Nuremberg. A renaissance city, (Archer M. Huntington Gallery, The University of Texas at Austin, 1983)


Diameter: 363.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1949-4-11-105



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