Otto van Veen

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Otto van Veen
Natura moderatrix optima
Brush and light brown and gray oil, and pen and brown ink; on a paper prepared with a light brown ground of lead white tinted with yellow-brown ochre and a little red in oil medium; incised with the stylus.
7 1/16 x 5 3/4 inches (180 x 147 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
Van Veen Album, folio 18

Watermark: since the drawings are laid down, no watermarks, if any, are visible, even with fiber-optic light.
Engraved in reverse, 1607.
Also see records on Van Veen Album (III, 146-157).


Inscribed on the album page below the design, in brown ink, "Natúra moderatrix optima (title) / Nonne cupidinibus statuit natúra modúm, quem / Quem [repeated in error by the inscriber] quid latura sibi, quid sit dolitúra negatúm, / Quaerere plús prodest, et inane abscindere soldo,? / Nam tibi cum faúces úrit sitis, aúrea quaeris / Pocúla? núm esuriens fastidis omnia praeter / Pavonem, rhombúque?" (Would it not be more profitable to ask what limit nature assigns to desires, what satisfaction she will give herself, what privation will cause her pain and so to part the 'void' from what is 'solid'? Or, when thirst parches your jaws, do you ask for cups of gold? When hungry, do you disdain everything save peacock and turbot?). The text is from Horace, "Satires", Book I, 2, lines 111-15.

Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919), London and Florence; from whom purchased through Galerie Alexandre Imbert, Rome, in 1909 by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York (no mark; see Lugt 1509); his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867-1943), New York.

Netherlandish drawings of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and Flemish drawings of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the Pierpont Morgan Library / Felice Stampfle ; with the assistance of Ruth S. Kraemer and Jane Shoaf Turner. New York : The Library, 1991, p. 73-74, no. 130.

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