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An allegory of Peace, Art, and Abundance. Hans von Aachen

The picture of the German artist Hans von Aachen “Allegory of Peace, Art and Abundance” is a vivid example of the complex, and sometimes contradictory, art of mannerism. Painters of that time were interested in ideas and themes of a mythological, religious, and allegorical nature.

Because scholastic ideas and ways of thinking come into contact with naive fantasies and begin their interpenetration into each other, giving rise to a special means of representation, when an abstract concept is transmitted using a real character.

Most often these are allegorical images of peace and war, love and hate, justice and discord, glory and shame portrayed as human beings.

The canvas “Allegory of Peace, Art and Abundance” proclaims the main principles of mannerism by its name and appearance.

First of all, we are talking about allegory – how important philosophical and moral categories would look if they took on a human form, how they would behave.

Hans von Aachen presents these three ideas in the form of three female figures. On the bed, slightly covered with a thin white sheet, reclines a naked red-haired woman who represents the World. Her hair is gathered, and the only decoration is an unusual gold pendant that covers the solar plexus.

It is held not so much by a thin chain that descends to the pendant from the woman’s neck, but by two wide gold ribbons that encircle the Central female figure under the breast.

In her raised hand is an olive branch — an ancient Greek symbol of peace, the pose is relaxed and peaceful, her feet trample spears, arrows, shields, iron armor and battle drums, and it is clear to the viewer that Peace has reigned for a long time.

In the foreground is another woman-kneeling and half-naked – who has her back turned to the viewer. The lower part of the body is wrapped in a Golden cloth, and the hairstyle with many plaited braids is decorated with an intricate barrette.

A dark-haired attendant holds a full Cup of light-red wine in her hand, held out to the naked woman. This is a metaphorical representation of the cornucopia, which helps the viewer perceive the image as a personification of Abundance.

Behind the World, in the half-shadow of the room, reclines another dark-haired woman-fully clothed and less beautiful in appearance. The imagination of Hans von Aachen thus represents Art-in dark bluish-green clothes, a blood-red Cape, and with a sphere in his hands, holding the World by the shoulder.

Art hides behind the back of a naked woman, as if to protect itself. To a certain extent, the artist conveys the idea that Art is possible only when Peace reigns.

The General symbolism of the canvas is intended to glorify the peaceful policy of the German ruler, which led to the prosperity of art.

The composition of the picture is very unstable and is moving diagonally. Women’s figures are elongated and aristocratic. Elements of eroticism, cold color and restless lighting are the main features of German mannerism

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