Anonymous: The siege of an elephant (1601)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

A somewhat curious engraving. The engraving is based upon a 15th century print by the Dutch master Alart du Hameel which was probably based upon a lost piece of Jheronimus Bosch. The scene is an allegory: the elephant in the center is a symbol of strenght while the people around him carry flags with symbols of different trades like a shoe, a hammer, an axe and a weaver's shuttle. As a whole the print symbolizes the attack on the central authority by the bourgeoisie. The text at the bootom reads: "emeritatis subiti, ut vehementes sunt impulsus: quorum ictibus hominum mentes concussae, nec sua pericula respicere, nec aliena facta iusta aestimatione prosequi valent", which translates as "The impulses of recklessness are as abruptly as violent: their stimulus brings the human mind out of balance, and is no longer able to see their own risks and to judge righteously the actions of others". Engraving from 1601.

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