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: email@example.com
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
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.
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!
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"…
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
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.