Otto van Veen

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Otto van Veen
Mortis certitudo
Brush and gray and light brown 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.
7 1/8 x 5 3/4 inches (182 x 147 mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
Van Veen Album, folio 98

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, "Mortis certitúdo (title) / Divesne prisce natus ab Inacho / Nil interest, an pauper et infima / De gente sub Dio moveris / Victima, nil miserantis Orci. / Omnes eòdem cogimúr, omniúm / Versatúr úrna, seriús ocyús / Sors exitúra, et nos in aeternúm / Exiliúm impositúra cymbae" (Whether thou be rich and sprung from ancient Inachos [the first king of Argos], or dwell beneath the canopy of a heaven poor and lowly birth, it makes no difference: thou art pitiless Orcus' [Pluto's] victim. We are all being gathered to one and the same fold. The lot of every one of us is tossing about in the urn, destined sooner, or later, to come forth and place us in Charon's skiff for everlasting exile). The text is from Horace, "Odes", Book II, 3, lines 21-28.

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. 97, no. 210.

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