Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Friedrich Sustris (Venice, Italy, ca. 1540 - ca. 1599, Munich, Germany)


Allegory of Peace

Creation Date



16th century


7 7/8 in. x 3 3/4 in. (20 cm. x 9.53 cm.)

Object Type


Creation Place

Europe, Netherlands

Medium and Support

pen and black ink, grey wash over black chalk on paper

Credit Line

Bequest of the Honorable James Bowdoin III


Public Domain

Accession Number

The languid and sensual Allegory of Peace epitomizes Mannerist elegance in the female form. From her idealized profile and ornately knotted hair to her tiny waist, swelling abdomen, ample thighs and dainty feet, she embodies the artificial beauty favored by Italian and Northern Mannerists. Sustris employs the convention of “wet drapery” in rendering her quasi-ancient Greek garment, which reveals her navel and breasts beneath the fabric. The personification stands erect, effortlessly holding the heavy torch with which she sets fire to the symbols of war at her feet: cuirass (body armor), helmet, sword, and banners. She holds a palm branch of peace in her left hand, pointing heavenward with one extended finger, indicating the source of peace on earth.

Keywords: full figure   allegory   work on paper   master drawing  

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