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Globes in Art, Allegory, Geometria, Frans Floris, Antique Print, Antwerp


Frans Floris I (c. 1519-1570) (after)
Cornelis Cort (1533-1578) (engraver)
Geometria, Plate 5
[Allegory of Geometry]
Signed in plate “FFlor” and titled in plate “Geometria”
Hieronymus Cock, Antwerp, Belgium: 1565 [later edition, c. 16th to 18th centuries?]
Black and white copperplate engraving
9.5 x 11.5 inches

An allegorical figure of Geometry, her head crowned with a castle, measures a large globe with a compass as two bearded men look on intently. A snake encircles the base of the globe and a toad leans against it. Scholarly books and measuring tools are piled upon the stone patio where the scene takes place. This is from a set of seven prints after paintings by Frans Floris representing allegories of the liberal arts. The original paintings were commissioned from Floris for the villa of Nicolaas Jongelinck, an Antwerp merchant; there current whereabouts, if still in existence at all, is unknown.

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The set of seven prints of the liberal arts was published by Hieronymus Cock in Antwerp in 1565. In that set the Geometria print is numbered “6” lower right, with the name of the publisher Cock on the spine of the book in the lower left corner. The offered plate is apparently from a later edition — either a later state or re-engraved sometime between the original 16th-century edition and the 18th century — numbered “5” lower left, without the publication credit for Cock.

Frans Floris I was one of the more prominent members of the Floris family, which produced many artists including his father and brother. Painter, draughtsman and etcher, Floris was one of the leading exponents of Romanism in Antwerp, and his history painting influenced a generation of Flemish artists. He was largely responsible for the introduction of studios organized in the Italian manner, with skilled assistants — a practice subsequently adopted by other Netherlandish artists, most notably Rubens.

Cornelis Cort was a Dutch painter and engraver. He was a student of Hieronymous Cock, then went to Venice and studied with Titian. After several years there, he went to Rome where he founded an engraving studio and made important engravings after Italian, Flemish, and German engravings. He also mentored other engravers.

Full title: Vestigare Geometriae Intervalla Locorum Est, Quámque Alta, Longa, et Lata Rerum Corpora [Rough translation: To trace geometries, intervals between places, how deep, long and wide the measurement of the form.]


Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 2, p. 654.

“Frans Floris I.” Grove Dictionary of Art. (17 June 2002).

“Seven Liberal Arts/ Geometria.” British Museum. 2019. (24 April 2020).

“Seven Liberal Arts/ Grammatica.” British Museum. 2019. (24 April 2020).

Additional information


16th Century