- Museum number
Allegory on transience and equality in death, study for a print; under a pavilion, a picture of the Last Judgement, a child blowing bubbles in a niche below, a peasant standing at left and an emperor at right, two decaying corpses lying below, two medallions in the upper corners representing the Fall of Man and the Crucifixion. 1599
Pen and brown ink with grey wash; lines indented; the child drawn on a piece of paper inserted
- Production date
Height: 457 millimetres
Width: 348 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is the study for the engraving by Jacob de Gheyn (New Hollstein 124, wanting in the BM).
Literature: I.Q. van Regteren Altena, "Jacques de Gheyn: Three Generations", The Hague-Boston-London, 1983, cat.no.204; A.W.F.M. Meij, 'Jacques de Gheyn II als tekenaar', exh.cat. Boijmans van Beuningen Rotterdam and National Gallery of Art Washington, 1985-1986, cat.no.13 (with Dutch translation of the Latin verses).
The 1996 Malcolm Exhibition label text:
The drawing is a preparatory study for an elaborate allegorical engraving. The many inscriptions on the sheet are by the young scholastic prodigy Hugo Grotius (1583-1645), who was responsible for the iconography. The overriding theme is announced around the top of the 'Baldacchino': 'Death makes the sceptre and spade equal' (MORS SCEPTRA LIGONIBUS AEQUAT). Death is represented as the equaliser of all men, from the Emperor on the right to the peasant on the left, whose remains lie below. Between them, the child blows soap-bubbles, a traditional 'vanitas' symbol of the transience of life, labelled on his throne: HOMO BULLA ('Man is as a bubble').
Jacob de Gheyn was a prolific designer of prints, like his master Hendrick Goltzius (on whom see no.75). After working in Haarlem, de Gheyn was subsequently active in Amsterdam, Leiden and at the Prince of Orange's court in The Hague.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1985/6 Dec-Feb, Rotterdam, 'De Gheyn', no. 13
1986 Mar-May, Washington NG, 'De Gheyn', no. 13
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number