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Charity (Caritas)

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Charity (Caritas)

From The Seven Virtues (Antwerp: Hieronymous Cock, c.1559-60)
1559
16th century

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: 1966.1.68

Artist
Engraved by Philips Galle after Pieter Brueghel

Commentary
Charity (Charitas)

Expect that what is befalling others will befall you; you will be aroused to render aid
only if you make your own the feelings of the man who cries for help in the midst of adversity.

The young woman who personifies Charity holds a flaming (ardent) heart and attends to two young children. Atop her head is the so-called “Pius Pelican,” a bird once believed to feed her starving young with her own blood (therefore a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice). In the village surrounding Hope can be seen the Seven Acts of Corporal Mercy: feeding the hungry; giving drink to the thirsty; clothing the naked; visiting prisoners; tending the sick; giving hospitality to the homeless; and burying the dead.

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Additional Image Cropped
Cropped

This object was included in the following exhibitions:

  • Plate Dimensions: 22.5 x 29.5 cm (8 7/8 x 11 5/8 in.)
  • Paper Dimensions: 23.9 x 31 cm (9 7/16 x 12 3/16 in.)
  • Mount Dimensions: 27 x 32 cm (10 5/8 x 12 5/8 in.)

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