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Upper center in blue/black ink: Et se Asinus pardum vocat, et FORMICA leonem.; upper center in red ink: ET FORMICAE SVA BILIS INEST. (“And the ant has bile (i.e., anger).” Erasmus, _Adages_ 3.5.7) (trans. Vignau-Wilberg 1994, 62); insects in image numbered .1., .2., .3., .4., .5., and .6.; center right brown ink: LXX.; lower center in (gold?): SCILICET OBSTEPERANS ARGVTAE VESPA CICADAE.
Facing page:
Upper center in red ink: Vade ad formicam piger et considera vias eius. / et disce (“Go to the ant, O sluggard, and consider her ways, and learn wisdom.” Proverbs 6:6) (Latin Vulgate Bible); lower center in black ink: Horrea formicae tendunt ad inania nunquam: / Nullus ad amissas ibit amicus opes.


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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