Temperance (Temperantia) from The Virtues.
$9000 / ≈ €9000
Bruegel’s design for Temperance depicts a maelstrom of human activity collapsed into an impossible space. Figures crowd the print in clusters of activity that bleed into one another, from choir singers accompanied by a small orchestra to actors performing for a rapt audience to cosmographers futilely attempting to measure a smoke-billowing, swiftly rotating earth.
Groups of surveyors occupy the rightmost edge of the image, gauging fortifications and artillery, while in the foreground students furiously read and transcribe texts, and lenders busily settle their accounts.
>Anything but temperate, the image juxtaposes the central figure—a personification of temperance and the virtue upon which the study of the liberal arts was supposed to be based—with the chaotic reality of human experience.
Signed in the plate lower right : "BRVEGEL (VE interlaced). The title on the hem of the dress of the central figure: TEMPERANTIA.
Two lines of Latin in lower margin: VIDENDVM, VT NEC VOLVPTATI DEDITI PRODIGI ET LVXVRIOSI | APPAREAMVS, NEC AVARA TENACITATI SORDIDI AVT OBSCVRI EXISTAVMS.
Reference: Bastelaer, pg. 138; Hollstein, pg. 138; Lari, pg. 133.
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