MANDER, Karel van, the Elder
(b. 1548, Meulebeke, d. 1606, Amsterdam)

Allegory of Nature

Oil on copper, 44 x 79 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

The reverse side of the copper that Van Mander used as a support for The Continence of Scipio is also decorated. On it he painted an imitation of grey and red-veined marble to produce a marvellous trompe-l'oeil effect that is rarely encountered in the Netherlands at this time. In the centre is an allegorical scene in which Nature in the guise of Cybele with her many breasts is drawing the attention of a muscular, bearded man to a woman with rays around her head holding the two tablets of the law, who probably symbolizes Wisdom.