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(Italian, 15th century)
Dudley P. Allen Fund 1924.432.39
Catalogue raisonné: Hind E.I. 39a
This engraving is part of the group marked with the letter “B”, and named Cosmic Principles and the Virtues, which comprises the three Universal principles (Light, Time, and Space) alongside the four cardinal virtues (Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice) and the three theological ones (Faith, Hope, and Charity). These latter are a Christian concept originated from a passage in the first Book of Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Here personified as a full-length female figure, Speranza (Hope) raises her hands in gesture of prayer, turns slightly to left, and looks upwards towards a heavenly light. At her lower left is a phoenix on the top of a burning fire. This mythical bird was thought to symbolize Hope as it cyclically rises again from its own ashes.
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