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(Italian, 15th century)
Dudley P. Allen Fund 1924.432.40
Catalogue raisonné: Hind E.I.40a
This engraving is part of the group marked with the letter “B”, and named Cosmic Principles and the Virtues, which comprises the three Universal principles (Light, Time, and Space) alongside the four cardinal virtues (Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice) and the three theological ones (Faith, Hope, and Charity). These latter are a Christian concept originated from a passage in the first Book of Corinthians (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Here personified as a full-length female figure, Fede (Faith) firmly holds a cross with her left hand, while she supports the chalice and the host above it with her right hand. The chalice and the host symbolize Christ’s death and the Eucharist—the Christian sacrifice of the Mass—respectively. Sat on the lower right corner is a dog. This animal was regarded as man’s loyal companion, and thus as an allegory of Faith.
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