Event—Public Programming

Animal Allegory and the Ages of Man: Cristofano Bertelli’s “Scale Della Vita” (c. 1560)

The European print market of the later 15th and early 16th century developed a variety of visual conventions to represent the Ages of Man. Amongst these were animal analogies with the stages of human life, a topic that enjoyed a widespread and ongoing success in Transalpine areas of the continent. Companion broadsheets engraved by Cristofano Bertelli (Modena? c.1560) constituted a valiant attempt to introduce the Animal Ages into the Italian print market, but Counter-Reformation Italy proved impervious to the topic. What conditions might have prejudiced printer-publishers in the peninsula against commercially exploiting a subject that was decidedly viable elsewhere?