The Triumph of Time

Medallion ‘The Triumph of Time’, Dirck Vellert
Antwerp, Belgium
1517
Grisaille Stained glass; D.23cm
Inv. I.A.5956

In 1517, the printmaker and painter Dirck Vellert made a series of roundels illustrating Petrarch’s poem I Trionfi. Each chapter of the work by the Italian humanist was devoted to a ‘triumph’ – inspired by the celebratory processions granted to victorious Roman generals – and proposed an allegorical vision of mankind.

‘The Triumph of Time’ refers to the passing of time and the fleeting nature of things. The decoration painted in grisaille (shades of grey) on colourless glass represents Time as an old man with a beard, surrounded by a child and a young man, together symbolizing the three ages of Man. Several motifs are borrowed from 15th-century Italian prints. Probably incorporated into the windows of a wealthy patron’s residence, this roundel is the first work signed and dated by the artist, who was active in Antwerp by 1511. Another medallion from the same series, ‘The Triumph of Faith, is in Amsterdam.

 

 

Discover this masterpiece in the gallery Glassware – Stained glass and in the book Masterpieces of the Cinquantenaire Museum.