Geometry, from a set of allegories of the arts and sciences with grotesque motifs on black grounds

Etienne Delaune French

Not on view

Engraving, part of a series of allegories of the arts and sciences with grotesque motifs, executed on black grounds by Étienne Delaune before 1573. This print, the first of the set, consists of a representation of Geometry, which is represented by a woman on profile, walking towards the right. She holds a measuring rod on one hand and a compass on the other; at her feet are a book, a carpenter's square, a ruler, and a compass, all of them traditional attributes of this science. She stands under a sort of tent, held by two winged terms, crowned with laurel wreaths, and each holding an olive branch on the other hand. Their attributes recall victory, peace and virtue, framing Geometry and presenting her as a victorious virtue. This symbolism is reinforced by the war trophies that hang above the terms, made up of a shield, a carcasse, a sword and olive branches. Below Geometry is a representation of a river god, holding two urns on his hands, and pouring their content out to his sides. Together with the butterflies that fly around Geometry, this god seems to have no symbolic meaning in the allegory of the science, and might only be used as decorative instruments in the composition.

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