Tuesday, January 27



Matthew Alderman. An Allegorical Image of the Virtue of Prudence. November 2008. 4" x 6". Private Collection, New York State.

This image of the traditional personification of Prudence--incorporating her symbols of mirror, serpent, and deer--was intended as a companion-piece (and something of a contrast within that harmony) to last year's drawing of the martyr St. Victoria. The personified Virtues are often shown with hexagonal halos to distinguish them from human saints or angels; in Prudence's case, she is often showed armored, with a serpent curling around her to represent cautious action in difficult situations. The arrow is also sometimes included. The mirror, I believe, represents the ability to accurately assess problems, while the deer's heavy antlers suggest slow but steady movement forward under a burden. There's also a number of a number of other symbols (such as showing her as a two-faced figure) I was unable to incorporate here for compositional reasons, but all the classic attributes are included.

As there is always the risk in making a companion-piece too similar to its mate, I tried hard to explore variant details within the same general composition--the dark background representing the dangers surrouding Prudence, her bound-up blonde hair, St. Victoria's flowing dark locks and plain background, armor and queenly robes, and so forth. Nonetheless, the basic style, size and figural composition keep the two related.

Matthew Alderman. S. Victoria of Córdoba, Virgin and Martyr. Ink on Vellum, December 2007. Private Collection, New York.

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