Abraham Bloemaert

chalk and ink drawing of man and woman seated with skeleton and winged figure

Abraham Bloemaert (1566–1651)
Death and the Lovers
c. 1620–30
Black chalk, pen, and brown ink, brown and red washes, traces of white gouache
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Witt Bequest, 1952

This moralizing drawing, finished to a high degree with lavish washes, shows a soldier seducing a young woman. Distracted by her sensuousness, he is unaware of the skeletal legs beneath her skirt and of the figure of Death poised to strike with his arrow. A devil hovers above ready to claim his soul. The hourglass, lute, and mirror further underscore the brevity and vanity of mortal life.

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