Young Man Holding a Skull and a Tulip
Signed with monogram and dated at upper left, in brown ink, HG (interlaced) / 1614
Lettered by the artist at right center, in brown ink, QVIS EVADET / NEMO
Pen and brown ink
18 1/8 x 13 15/16 inches (460 x 354 mm)
Gift of J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1924
This is among the last and most spectacular examples of Goltzius's Federkunststücke, or drawings imitating engravings; the artist's crippled hand and deteriorating eyesight challenged him in the graphic realm and prevented him from engraving after 1600. The robust young man holding a skull illustrates a vanitas theme in the form of a fantasy portrait. The Latin inscription, which translates "Who escapes? No man," and the hourglass in the upper right are reminders of the transience of existence.