Otto van Veen

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Otto van Veen
Nil aliud quam umbra ac flatus est homo
Brush and gray oil, and pen and brown ink; on a paper prepared with a dark brown ground of lead white tinted with yellow-brown ochre and a little red in oil medium.
7 5/16 x 5 3/4 inches (185 x 146 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
Van Veen Album, folio 88

Inscribed on the album page below the design, in brown ink, "Nil aliúd qúam úmbra ac flatús est homo (title) / Damna qúidem celeres reparant coelestia Lúnae / Nos úbi decidimús / Qúo piús Aeneas, quo Tullús Dives, et Ancus / Púlvis et umbra súmús, / Qúis as adjiciant hodiernae crastina súmmae / Tempora Dii superi" (Yet the swiftly changing moons repair their losses in the sky. We, when we have descended whither righteous Aeneas, whither Tullus and Ancus have gone, are but dust and shadow. Who knows whether the gods will add tomorrow's time to the sum of today?). The title is from Sophocles' "Ajax", lines 125-26. The text is from Horace, "Odes", Book IV, 7, lines 13-18.

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. 95, no. 200.


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).

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