Woman with a Mirror - Vanitas

Jacques de Gheyn II. - engraver

Jacques de Gheyn II. - engraver - Woman with a Mirror - Vanitas
Vanitas-the memento of life’s impermanence-was among the popular moralizing themes in Mannerist art. An attractive young woman is depicted sitting in her bedroom, surrounded by luxurious objects. A game of backgammon is laid out on the table. The woman admires her beauty in the mirror, marveling at her exposed breast. As a warning, the inscription in the top right corner says: Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas (vanity of vanities, all is vanity). A pair of animals complements the composition: a dog, symbolizing marital faithfulness, sits on his mistress’s knees, snarling at a monkey chained to a post, a symbol of sin and lust. The print is accompanied by a poem by Hugo Grotius, the famous poet and humanist, who wrote this poem when he was twelve. Grotius was a child prodigy, enrolling at the University of Leiden at the age of eleven.
measurements: height 268 mm
width 181 mm
material: paper
technique: engraving
inventory number: R 165748
gallery collection: Collection of Prints and Drawings