The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Subject piece - Youth
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • 1550 - 1600
  • Subject piece - Youth
  • Wax, glass and wood
  • Height: 10 cm, oval
    Width: 7.5 cm
  • Label: 'ouvrez voyez la difference'
  • S457
  • Sixteenth Century Gallery
Commentary
History
  • Due to its malleability wax has been widely used for the production of sculptures and emerged as an art in its own right in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, particularly in Italy. This example has a companion piece also in the Wallace Collection of Old Age, showing a wrinkled old woman holding a crutch. A similar pair of waxes is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Such images, emphasising the brevity of human life and the vanity of human ambitions, were commonplace in Medieval and Renaissance art.