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Hope (Spes)

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Hope (Spes)

From The Seven Virtues (Antwerp: Hieronymous Cock, c.1559-60)
1559
16th century
22.3 x 29.2 cm (8 3/4 x 11 1/2 in.)

Pieter Bruegel the elder (aka Bruegel, Pieter, I)

Breda, Netherlands c. 1525–1569 Breda, Netherlands
Philips Galle Haarlem, Netherlands 1537–1612 Haarlem, Netherlands

Classification: Print
Medium/Technique: Engraving
Credit Line: Bequest of the Reverend John J. Kelley
Accession Number: 1966.1.73

Artist
Engraved by Philips Galle after Pieter Brueghel

Commentary
Hope (Spes)

The assurance that hope gives us is most pleasant and most essential to an existence amid so many nearly insupportable woes.

Hope (“the anchor of the soul”) is personified as a woman standing upon a large anchor and holding a spade and a scythe, symbols of the farmer’s risky occupation. Upon her head she wears a large beehive, a common symbol of the Church. She stands in the midst of turbulent seas that are wreaking disaster on a variety of ships and sailors. In a nearby dungeon, prisoners hope for release, while in the background a fire brigade attempts to quench a conflagration before it can consume a house.

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This object was included in the following exhibitions:

  • Plate Dimensions: 22.3 x 29.2 cm (8 3/4 x 11 1/2 in.)
  • Paper Dimensions: 24 x 31 cm (9 7/16 x 12 3/16 in.)
  • Mount Dimensions: 25.3 x 32 cm (9 15/16 x 12 5/8 in.)

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