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Spes (Hope) from the series The Seven Virtues (after Pieter Brueghel the Elder)

Photo by Peter Paul Geoffrion

Spes (Hope) from the series The Seven Virtues (after Pieter Brueghel the Elder)

Artist: Philip Galle (Flemish, 1537–1612)
Culture: Flemish
Date: 1559–1560
Medium: Engraving on paper
Dimensions:
Image: 8 3/16 x 11 3/8 inches (20.8 x 28.9 cm)
Sheet: 8 13/16 x 11 1/2 inches (22.4 x 29.2 cm)
Mat: 17 x 18 3/4 inches (43.2 x 47.6 cm)
Classification: Print
Credit Line: Museum purchase with funds provided by Nanci Leila Weldon ’64 Memorial Fund
Label Text:This print belongs to a series illustrating the seven virtues. Here, Hope is represented by traditional attributes. Hope is shown balancing calmly on a massive anchor, a symbol of the firmness of her hope. She holds a sickle and a spade, and a beehive rests atop her head, symbols of the farmer’s hope for a good harvest. Groups of people in perilous situations—a ship tossed about by a churning, monster-laden sea, shackled prisoners, and individuals fleeing a house fire—are all in need of strong hope to survive their ordeals. The accompanying inscription reminds the viewer of the importance of hope: “The conviction of hope is the most delightful; and most essential to a life amid so many troubles and so many unbearable woes.”

Philip Galle was an engraver working under the print merchant Hieronymous Cock, who is credited with transforming printmaking into an organized and profitable trade. Galle created this work after an original engraving by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, an artist known for his highly detailed paintings depicting allegorical or satirical content in landscape settings. The series this work comes from was intended for commercial circulation and would have been collected by the faithful, who would have meditated on its spiritual and practical implications and looked to it as a reminder of how to live.

Object number: 1972.3.1
In Collection(s)