Allegorical title page by Peter Paul Rubens, 1708 edition
Allegorical title page by Peter Paul Rubens from ‘De Re Nummaria Antigua Opera’ by Herbertus Goltzius, Antwerp, 1708 edition.
A beautiful addition by Rubens to Herbertus Goltzius’s (1526-1583) monumental publication ‘De Re Nummaria Antigua Opera’, engraved by Galle, who’s publication rights Rubens purchased in 1630. That’s the time period when he added the drawing which would be engraved and henceforth be included in future publication of this work. Then Rubens sold his rights to the famous Plantin press in 1645. Our example dates from 1708 published by H. Verdussen. The allegorical scene symbolizes the rebirth of classical learning that would take place in the Renaissance. The central sculpture represents ‘Antiquity’ with Phoenix on top. The personification of death and time are hurling down figures that represent the ancient empires of Greece, Rome and Persia into the cave of time, with Mercury recovering Ancient Greek and Roman statues, Hercules is recovering a pot of ancient coins with Athena holding a torch above. With humanity receiving the treasures of the past. A moving and fantastic work of art and imagination by Rubens.
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