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Engraving, 213 x 137 mm. New Hollstein 115.
Very fine impression printed on laid paper. Generally in very good condition. A tiny thicker fiber included in the paper caused a slight rubbing under the skeleton’s left arm. Four tiny tears on the edges of the sheet. Wide margins (sheet: 312 x 205 mm).
Last plate in the series Pictorum aliquot celebrium praecipuae Germaniae Inferioris effigies representing famous painters, engraved by Hendrick Hondius I, Simon Frisius, Robert de Baudous and Andries Stock. The complete version of this series first published in 1610 by Hendrick Hondius I includes sixty-eight portraits, a title page, an allegorical piece with three putti in the air and this allegory with Death. The published copies, however, contain a variable number of plates.
Death is represented by a skeleton holding an hourglass and an arrow. This theme can be found in several other prints by Hondius, such as Still Life with Skull, Sandglass, Books and Artist’s Utensils (New Hollstein 20) or the Frontispiece with Skull and Sandglass that opens the Series of Animal Skeletons (New Hollstein 243). Unlike these Memento Mori, Post Funera, Vita carries a particular message: talented painters will survive after their death because of the fame they have gained and the portraits that have been made of them.
Pallida Mors omnes petit. Huic parere necesse est. Non Color hic ullus, non juvat ullus Honos. Qui bene vixerunt, horum est POST FUNERA VITA. Qui bene pinxerunt vivere Morte puta. Ad vivum pictis tabulas [sic] nova vita paratur. Post mortem ut possit vivere quisque paret.
Pale Death pursues all men. No one escapes it. Colors and honors are of no help. Those who have lived well, to them is LIFE AFTER DEATH. Those who have painted well, know that they survive in Death. Their portrait painted in life offers them a new life. Whoever wishes to live like this after death must be prepared for this. (translated by us)
The monograms engraved on the small pyramids in the background are the signatures of famous painters and engravers who died in the previous century. AD: Albrecht Dürer; L: Lucas van Leyden; MVH: Maarten van Heemskerck; AG: Heinrich Aldegrever; HS: Hans Schäufelein; D: unidentified artist.