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Upper center in red ink: FLOS, CINIS.(“A flower is only ash.” Erasmus, _Adages_, 4.7.12) (trans. Bass 2019, 107); insects in image numbered .1., 2., .3., .4., .5., and .6.; center right in brown ink: LXIII.
Facing page:
Upper center in blue ink: Ipse cognovit figmentum nostrum: recordatus est / quomiam pulvis sumus; homo sicut foenum dies ei[us] / tanq[uam] flos agri sic efflorebit. ps:102 (“He knows our frame. He remembers we are dust; Man’s days are as grass, as the flower of the field so shall he flourish.” Psalms 102-14-15) (Latin Vulgate Bible); lower center in (gold?): Amicitiis non est utendum ut flosculis / tamdiu gratis qua[m]diu recentibus. (“Friends should not be treated like flowers, beloved only so long as they are new.”) (trans. Bass 2019, 107)


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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