Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Statuette - Allegory of Sickness
  • Allegory of Sickness
    Heschler, David, born 1611 - died 1667
  • Enlarge image

Allegory of Sickness

  • Object:

    Statuette

  • Place of origin:

    Ulm (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1640 - ca. 1650 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Heschler, David, born 1611 - died 1667 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved boxwood

  • Museum number:

    A.3-1956

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 6, The Lisa and Bernard Selz Gallery, case CA13

This small boxwood figure, an allegory of sickness, was probably carved in Ulm in South Germany in the mid-seventeenth century by David Heschler (1611-1667), who worked in both wood and ivory. The distressed long-haired figure half-walks forward and half-falls, semi-nude, draped in a loose classicising cloak, his left arm raised to his breast and his mouth half-open as if crying out, revealing his missing teeth. The cat on his shoulder was believed to draw off sickness, and the snake wrapped round his thigh recalls the fact that snake's venom was thought to heal gout and rheumatism. The vomiting and excreting dog at his feet allegorises the expulsion of sickness. The myriad details of this sort dispersed right around the figure encourage the viewer to turn it in their hands, examining it closely.

Physical description

The distressed long-haired figure half-walks forward and half-falls, semi-nude, draped in a loose classicising cloak, his left arm to his breast and his mouth half-open as if crying out, revealing his missing teeth. The cat on his shoulder was believed to draw off sickness, and the snake wrapped round his thigh recalls the fact that snake's venom was thought to heal gout and rheumatism. The vomiting and excreting dog at his feet allegorises the expulsion of sickness.

Place of Origin

Ulm (made)

Date

ca. 1640 - ca. 1650 (made)

Artist/maker

Heschler, David, born 1611 - died 1667 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved boxwood

Dimensions

Height: 20 cm, Diameter: 7 cm Across the base

Object history note

Bought from Mr Philip Mayer 10 Fawley Road, London NW6 for £500, in 1956. Formerly attributed to Georg Petel (1601/2-1633/4), and subsequently thought to be South Netherlandish, this figure was convincingly reattributed to Heschler by Christian Theuerkauff in 2000.

Descriptive line

Statuette, boxwood, Allegory of Sickness, by David Heschler, Germany (Ulm), ca.1640-1650

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

K. Feuchtmayer and A. Schadler, 'Georg Petel 1601/2-1633/4' Berlin, 1973, cat. no. 101 on pp. 163 ff.
C. Theuerkauff, 'David Heschler 1611-1667', 'Weltkunst', no. 10, 15 September 2000, p. 1707 (ill.).

Labels and date

ALLEGORY OF SICKNESS
German, Ulm; around 1640
Boxwood
Attributed to David Heschler

This figure represents sickness, and more specifically symbolises a cure for gout. The cat was believed to draw sickness off, while the snake’s venom was thought to heal gout and rheumatism. The vomiting and excreting of the dog is dramatic allegory of the expulsion of illness.
[1993 - 2011]

Materials

Boxwood

Techniques

Carving

Subjects depicted

Cat; Dog; Snake; Sickness; Man

Categories

Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.