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(Italian, 15th century)
Engraving, hand-colored with gold
Dudley P. Allen Fund 1924.432.24
Catalogue raisonné: Hind E.I. 24a
This engraving is part of the group “C” named Liberal Arts. Conceptually, the liberal arts descended from classical antiquity, and were divided into the Trivium (Grammar, Rhetoric, and Dialectic or Logic) and the Quadrivium (Music, Geometry, Arithmetic, and Astronomy). In the Tarocchi set the total number was risen to ten, with the addition of the three disciplines (Poetry, Philosophy, and Theology). The liberal arts denoted knowledge or skills considered necessary to participate in a free society. By the late Middle Ages, they began to be represented in the visual arts as womanlike allegories.
Here, Geometria (Geometry) is personified as a half-length pregnant female figure in profile, hovering in clouds above an imaginary landscape. She draws a square, triangle, and circle in the sky with her right hand.
The identifying letter at the lower left corner of the print was originally an “E,” which was corrected by the engraver to a “C.”
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