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Upper center in red ink: VEL MVSCAS PRAETERVOLANTES.; insects in image numbered .1., .2., .3., and .4., in red ink; center right in brown ink: XXXXVII.
Facing page:
Upper center in red ink: Muscae morientes perdunt suavitatem unguenti: praetiosior / est sapientia, et gloria, parva ad tempus stultitia Ecc.10 (“Dying flies spoil the sweetness of the ointment. Wisdom and glory are more precious than a small and shortlived folly.” Ecclesiastes 10:1) (Latin Vulgate Bible)


Emperor Rudolph of Austria; Lessing J. Rosenwald, Alverthorpe, PA; gift to NGA, 1987.

Exhibition History

A Collector's Cabinet, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1998, no. 76.
From Botany to Bouquets: Flowers in Northern Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1999, no. 45, as Iris from Animalia Rationalia et Insecta (Ignis).
Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe l'Oeil Painting, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2002-2003, no. 30, as Ignis (Animalia Rationalia et Insecta) Plate 47.

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