Otto van Veen

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Otto van Veen
Philosophia vitae magistra
Brush and light brown and gray oil, and pen and brown ink; on a paper prepared with a red-brown ground of lead white tinted with yellow-brown ochre and a little red in oil medium; incised with the stylus.
7 1/4 x 5 7/8 inches (184 x 150 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
Van Veen Album, folio 20

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, "Philosophia vitae magistra (title) / Inter cúncta leges et percúnctabere doctos, / Qúa ratione queas traducere leviter aevum. / Ne te semper inops agitet vexetqúe cúpido / Ne pavor, et rerúm mediocriter útiliúm, spes. / Virtútem doctrina paret natúrane donet / Qúid minúat cúras, qúid te tibi reddat amicúm" (Amid all this you must read and question the wise, how you may be able to pass your days in tranquility. Is greed, ever penniless, to drive and harass you, or fears and hopes about things that profit little? Does wisdom beget virtue, or Nature bring her as a gift? What will lessen care? What will make you a friend of yourself?). The text is from Horace, "Epistles", Book I, 18, lines 96-101,

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. 74, no. 132.

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