Gallery of prints for sale

Saturday 28 December 2019

Benigno Bossi's etching, “Allegory of Time”, 1785

Benigno Bossi (1727–1792)

“Allegory of Time” (aka “Dance of Death”), 1785, showing the personification of Death and Time guiding an old man to his grave that is inscribed on the headstone with the Latin epitaph: “Fumus, [U]mbra, Nihil” (Smoke, Shadow, Nothing).

Etching on laid paper, trimmed with a small margin around the image borderline.
Size: (sheet) 15.7 x 9.5 cm; (image borderline) 14.2 x 8.5 cm.
Inscribed on plate: (upper edge at centre) “PARMAE/ MD CC LXXXV”; (on headstone at lower left) “FUMUS/ VMBRA/ NIHIL”; (lower right corner) “Bossi.”

Note: I have been unable to find this print in the collection any of the major museums.

Condition: richly inked and well-printed, faultless impression, trimmed with a small margin around the image borderline and in pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, losses, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of use).

I am selling this small and exceptionally rare etching expressing the notion of memento mori (i.e. the inevitability of death)—note the personified figures of Death and Time guiding an old man in his birthday suit to his grave and the vanitas symbolism of the abandoned book (knowledge), coins (wealth), a medal (valour), a smoking oil lamp (life) and a globe (worldly concerns)—for AU$317 in total (currently US$229.58/EUR212.52/GBP178.87 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable etching that is rich with symbolism, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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