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The Marriage Balance, plate 2 from the Series of Six Proverbs, after Karel van Mander

circa 1592
16th century
24.2 cm x 16.9 cm (9 1/2 in. x 6 5/8 in.)

Workshop of Hendrick Goltzius (Haarlem, 1558 - 1617, Haarlem) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, Dutch
Medium and Support: Engraving
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Accession Number: 2002.2292

As humanism advanced in Europe, the idea that companionship was an important aspect of marriage spread. In the Marriage Balance, Karl van Mander reacts to this novel idea by insisting on the "traditional" function of marriage, which was economic. The inscription at the bottom reads, "Neither love nor virtue, but only a dowry weighed out fairly in the scales makes a stable marriage . . ." The fact that this image was printed in several states by different publishers and with translations from the Latin into Dutch and English suggests that the principle it illustrates held wide currency.

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