Jan 12, 2009

The Power of Women: The Poet Virgil Suspended in a Basket

The Power of Women: The Poet Virgil Suspended in a Basket

c. 1512

Lucas van Leyden

(Dutch, 1494–1533)


Gift of the Print Club of Cleveland in memory of Charles T. Brooks 1935.116

Catalogue raisonné: Hollstein 89

State: I/II



This woodcut is from a series depicting the power of women, a popular early 16th-century theme. The series highlights a woman’s capacity to use beauty, charm, and ruse to thwart even the cleverest men. Here, Van Leyden illustrated the cunning of the Roman emperor’s daughter. According to legend, the poet Virgil fell in love with the maiden, but she objected and punished him for his impudence. After promising to raise Virgil to her bedroom window in a basket, she left him hanging halfway. The printmaker omitted the emperor’s daughter from the scene but added the woman advising her son against such folly.

See also
PR - Woodcut
Type of artwork: 

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