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Upper center in blue/violet ink: Ingentes animos angusto in pectore versant. (“[They] harbor great spirits in tiny breasts.” Virgil, _Georgics_, 4.83, 4.184) (trans. Bass 2019, 3) / VBI MEL IBI FEL. (“There is no honey without bile.”) (trans. Bass 2019, 4); insects in image numbered .1., in red ink; center right in (gold?): LXIX.; lower center in red/orange ink: VBI VBER IBI TVBER. (“There is no rose without thorns.”) (trans. Bass 2019, 4); lower center in black ink: Omnibus una quies operum labor omnibus unus. (“They all have one job, and one respite from labor.” Virgil, _Georgics_, 4.83, 4.184) (trans. Bass 2019, 4)
Facing page:
Upper center in red ink: Non laudes virum in specie sua: Neq[ue] spernas hominem in / visu suo. Brevis in volatilibus est Apis: et initium / dulcoris habet fructus eius. Eccl: 11: (“Praise not a man for his beauty, neither despise a man for his look. The bee is small among flying things, but her fruit has the chiefest sweetness.” Ecclesiasticus 11:2-3) (Latin Vulgate Bible); center in black ink: Dum puer alveolo furatur mella Cupido, / Furanti digitum cuspide fixit APIS. / Sic etiam nobis brevis et peritura voluptas, / Quam petimus tristi mixta dolore nocet.; lower center in red ink: In apes ne fervas, ne malum feras.; lower center in blue/black ink: Illis ira modum supra est [lesaeque?] venenum / Morsibus inspirant, et spicula caeca relinquunt / Affixa venis, animasq[ue] in vulnere ponunt.


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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