Allegorie der Vergänglichkeit

Allegory of Transience

dated 1731
Johann Rudolf Huber(?), Basle
Monopartite panel
height 14.5 cm, width 14.5 cm
Inv. 1888,95. purchase

4027px x 4152px
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The small octagonal panel shows Chronos, the personification of Time, as an old bearded man with his most usual attribute, the scythe, and with wings. He holds a cloak marked with the numbers and the lines of the hours (as on a sundial) spread out in front of him to conceal the nakedness of his body; death in the form of a skeleton peeps out from behind it. Two designs by Johann Rudolf Huber (1668-1748) for a sundial which are close to the glass painting suggest that this panel is also his work, and that he was a glass painter as well as a painter. However, the illogical arrangement of the numbers in the panel rules out its use as a glass sundial. The main message of the glass painting is that of vanitas, the triumph of time and death over life: the inscription reads, "die Zeit get hin / har kombt der Tod / O Mensch betrachts / and ferchte Gott. / 1731." (Time goes by / death draws near / Oh man take note / and fear God).

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