The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
An Allegory of True Love
  • Pieter Pourbus (1523 - 1584)
  • An Allegory of True Love
  • Southern Netherlands
  • c. 1547
  • Painting
  • Oil on oak panel
  • Image size: 132.8 x 205.7 cm
    Frame size: 158 x 231 x 10 cm
  • Signature: 'PETRVS POVRBVS / FACIEBAT' With a filigrane below between the initials PP
  • P531
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Further Reading
  • Pourbus’s masterpiece depicts a group of mythological and allegorical characters. The viewer’s gaze is met in the centre of the picture by an older man, Sapiens (Wisdom), who embraces Fidutia (Fidelity). She offers the wise man spiritual love sanctified by Christian matrimony, while the other figures warn the viewer of the folly of carnal love. The complex subject reflects Pourbus’s involvement with the erudite circles of the Bruges Chambers of Rhetoric while the elegant figures reveal his debt to Italian mannerism. The lively landscape background and naturalistic detail also clearly demonstrate the development of naturalism in painting in the Southern Netherlands.