An Allegory of Man

English School
1596 – 1599

An Allegory of Man

Painted after 1596

Oil on Panel: 22 7/8 x 20 11/16 inches, 57.2 x 51.7 cm

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Provenance

  • with The Weiss Gallery, 1990, sold to
  • Tate Britain, London

Please note that the text below is an extract from the display caption at Tate Britain, April 2007:

Extremely few British paintings of religious subjects have survived from the sixteenth century. After the Reformation, Protestant unease about images meant it would have been highly controversial to display either religious paintings or alabasters. The inscription at the bottom, in English, warns against the evil of worldly vanity. Instead it urges prayer to ensure the safe passage of the soul to heaven. The resurrected Christ appears at the top. Below him, at the centre, is Man, shielded by Christian and moral virtues against attacks from all sides by the Seven Deadly Sins.

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