HOEFNAGEL, Jacob
(b. ca. 1575, Antwerpen, d. 1630)

A Young Man Caresses an Old Woman

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Pen, washed, brownish paper, 310 x 290 mm
Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna

This drawing is an allegory of the "ill-suited couple", in which old men as well as old women covet young members of the opposite sex. The original source of the drawing is Leonardo.

In a sudden moment of insincere fondness, a young man nuzzles an emaciated, toothless old woman. With his right hand, he brings the woman's head to him, while the left reaches for the actual object of his desire - a tightly filled purse. While she happily allows the young man to embrace her, the gaunt figure demonstratively delays the young man with a ring as remuneration, which accentuates the pecuniary nature of the seduction.

The border decoration, which catches the eye with its ornate composition, was possibly intended as a collector's mark.