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hendrick goltzius
(1558 Muhlbrecht โ€“ 1617 Haarlem)

Quis evadet (Who Can Escape?). Engraving. 21.2 x 15.2 cm. 1594. Bartsch 10; Hollstein 110; The Illustrated Bartsch 3 (3), p. 292, 10 (97); The Illustrated Bartsch 3: Commentary, p. 158, .160 j. Watermark: Fleur-de-lys with appended letters PS.

"Who Can Escape?" is the motto of this delightful portrayal of vanity. A cherub, symbol of youth, leans with his left arm on a skull and blows soap bubbles into the air. The Latin quatrain of the Haarlem humanist Franco Estius tells us that the life of the newly born is as fleeting as a soap bubble. Even the proud lily, which expends its beauty and scent in spring, suddenly withers and its beauty fades. This engraving, which Adam von Bartsch attributed to a pupil of Goltzius, is now considered to be the work of the master himself. The concentrated and varied engraving style generates a profound degree of materiality and spatial suggestion in a relatively small format. This doubtless explains the popularity and diffusion of the engraving, as there exists no fewer than nine copies of this print.


A very fine, clear impression with very wide margins. In impeccable condition.