The Four (Sexual) Ages of Man -- and very occasionally -- Woman

This is a vaguely erotic variant of the standard Four Ages of Man topos -- one I've not seen treated separately before. The immediate impulse for me to set up this board was happening upon the two Limoges salts in the Wallace coll painted by Colin Nouailher in 1542. Happy to be emailed offsite: malcmjones1@gmail.com
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The Four Sexual Ages of Man (as I term this motif) -- This in the Rijksmus who describe it as "Kussend jong paar, een man in de kracht van zijn leven, een grijsaard en een stokoude man, Anonymous, c. 1580 - before 1596" -- BUT see next! via Rijksmus website

The Four Sexual Ages of Man (as I term this motif) -- This in the Rijksmus who describe it as "Kussend jong paar, een man in de kracht van zijn leven, een grijsaard en een stokoude man, Anonymous, c. via Rijksmus website

Four Sexual Ages of Man painted illustration in the album amicorum of Pfintzing von Henfenfeld (1591-6) which -- if the dating is to be trusted -- antedates the printed version and may thus be one of the very students' album images the Pugillus Facetiarum claimed to draw on. Herzog Anna Amalia Bibliothek, Weimar - -which has digitised all of its 754 alba amicorum and made them freely available online -- now that's what I  call promoting scholarship!

Four Sexual Ages of Man painted illustration in the album amicorum of Pfintzing…

Abraham Bach's mid17C Four Sexual Ages of Man entitled "Der Welt Lauff vnd alter Gebrauch" [The way of the world and ancient custom] -- coloured impression in the GNM and I suggest adjacent print in the Rijksmus coll is merely the woodcut cut from this sheet

Abraham Bach's Four Sexual Ages of Man entitled "Der Welt Lauff vnd alter Gebrauch" [The way of the world and ancient custom] -- coloured impression in the GNM and I suggest adjacent print in the Rijksmus coll is merely the woodcut cut from this sheet

Schreiber dubbed this "die Liebe und die drei Lebensalter" Munchen, Graphische Sammlung Inventarnr. 171586. German woodcut sheet c.1500 -- embracing couple torn away -- and men's speeches erased -- for what they were saying, see next! Earliest example of the motif known to me.

Schreiber dubbed this "die Liebe und die drei Lebensalter" Munchen, Graphische Sammlung Inventarnr. 171586. German woodcut sheet c.1500 -- embracing couple torn away -- and men's speeches erased -- for what they were saying, see next! Earliest example of the motif known to me.

REPINNED FROM MY "12 SATIRES ON MARRIAGE" BOARD. This member of the suite patently deriving from the Four Sexual Ages of Man was perhaps felt to be tto strong for English tastes and was deliberately reinterpreted as an example of the Unequal Couple motif]. Young couple kissing, watched by three men whose age and beard-length increases from left to right -- oldest man wears spectacles and supports himself on a crutch.

REPINNED FROM MY "12 SATIRES ON MARRIAGE" BOARD. This member of the suite patently deriving from the Four Sexual Ages of Man was perhaps felt to be tto strong for English tastes and was deliberately reinterpreted as an example of the Unequal Couple motif]. Young couple kissing, watched by three men whose age and beard-length increases from left to right -- oldest man wears spectacles and supports himself on a crutch.

16C German Kachelofen tile formerly in the collection of Jakob Heinrich von Hefner-Alteneck and reproduced in vol.6 of his "Trachten Kunstwerke.." as pl.386 (1887) -- may now be in MAK. Banderole: "Ich gedenck mir vol das ich es auch pflag" [I think I used to do that too]. One of a series of the 'Four Sexual Ages of Man' -- see album paintings and print above. AND ADVERTISING MY OFENKACHEL BOARD!

16C German Kachelofen tile formerly in the collection of Jakob Heinrich von Hefner-Alteneck and reproduced in vol.6 of his "Trachten Kunstwerke.." as pl.386 (1887) -- may now be in MAK. Banderole: "Ich gedenck mir vol das ich es auch pflag" [I think I used to do that too]. One of a series of the 'Four Sexual Ages of Man' -- see album paintings and print above. AND ADVERTISING MY OFENKACHEL BOARD!

Four Sexual Ages of Man, from the "Pugillus Facetiarum" (Strasbourg, 1608) -- a collection of prints designed to be used or copied into students' alba amicorum -- as indeed they were -- see next. Speeches in trans., l to r : "I do this all day." "I do this when I can." "I think I used to do that."  "Good God! Do people still do that?"

Four Sexual Ages of Man, from the "Pugillus Facetiarum" (Strasbourg, 1608) -- a collection of prints designed to be used or copied into students' alba amicorum -- as indeed they were -- see next. Speeches in trans., l to r : "I do this all day." "I do this when I can." "I think I used to do that." "Good God! Do people still do that?"

4 Sexual Ages of Man, copied, I believe,  from the German print BELOW, which would put it 1608+ rather than c.1575, but the joke was already familiar to Whythorne in 1572 [see his Diary ed. Donno] In any case the English painter has bungled it, giving the embracing lover's speech to the man with the hawk: speeches, in the order & form painted here, should read: "Thus do I while I may". "Thus do I all the day". "Thus did I when I might" and "Good lord will thes [sic] world last for ever"…

4 Sexual Ages of Man, copied, I believe, from the German print BELOW, which would put it 1608+ rather than c.1575, but the joke was already familiar to Whythorne in 1572 [see his Diary ed. Donno] In any case the English painter has bungled it, giving the embracing lover's speech to the man with the hawk: speeches, in the order & form painted here, should read: "Thus do I while I may". "Thus do I all the day". "Thus did I when I might" and "Good lord will thes [sic] world last for ever"…

Four Ages of Woman compared to the Four Seasons -- design for an ecran perhpas by Bosse c.1540 in the Mus des Arts Decoratifs accessible via gallica

Four Ages of Woman compared to the Four Seasons -- design for an ecran perhpas by Bosse c.1540 in the Mus des Arts Decoratifs accessible via gallica

"Les Quatre Ages" mid 17C. Hennin 2958 in the BNF. Image via gallica

"Les Quatre Ages" mid Hennin 2958 in the BNF. Image via gallica

German single-sheet woodcut print "wer weis obs war ist" [Who knows if it's true], issued 1570s? Uniquely in the GNM

German single-sheet woodcut print "wer weis obs war ist" [Who knows if it's true], issued 1570s? Uniquely in the GNM

design for an ecran

design for an ecran

[currently advertised on ebay!] This is a copy of a 17C French print which I will find and pin

[currently advertised on ebay!] This is a copy of a 17C French print which I will find and pin

"Les 4 Ages en proverbe dans l;Amour" -- issued by Lagniet in the 1650s, This is Hennin 3858 in the BNF -- image via gallica

"Les 4 Ages en proverbe dans l;Amour" -- issued by Lagniet in the 1650s, This is Hennin 3858 in the BNF -- image via gallica

from the 2nd edition of Theodor de Bry's "Emblemata secularia" (Oppenheim, 1611) - image via V&A

from the edition of Theodor de Bry's "Emblemata secularia" (Oppenheim, - image via V&A

lefthand side [only] of gameboard. The borders are carved in low relief with the Four (Sexual) Ages of Man with the usual texts, dated 1603. Munchen, Bayerisches Nationbalmuseum. Inv.-Nr. 2993. WISH I COULD SEE A DECENT REPRODUCTION OF IT! THIS IS VIA THE TINY PHOTO IN the Marburger Bild-Index.

lefthand side [only] of gameboard. The borders are carved in low relief with the Four (Sexual) Ages of Man with the usual texts, dated 1603. Munchen, Bayerisches Nationbalmuseum. Inv.-Nr. 2993. WISH I COULD SEE A DECENT REPRODUCTION OF IT! THIS IS VIA THE TINY PHOTO IN the Marburger Bild-Index.

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