Taken from Bruegel’s series of “The World of Seven Virtues,” Prudence is represented here as an allegorical figure, personifying one of the cardinal virtues to living a wholesome, meaningful life. Full of intricate detail, this panorama of several characters serve to represent varying examples of forms of prudence.
Created c. 1559, Prudence features the following inscription in the lower margin: SI PRVDENS ESSE CVPIS, IN FVTVRVM PROSPECTVM IN OSTENDE, ET | QVAE POSSVNT CONTINGERE, ANIMO TVO CVNCTA PROPONE (If you wish to be prudent, thin always of the future and keep everything in the forefront of your mind) . The signature of Bruegel is inscribed in cartouche in the lower right: ‘Bruegel Inuentor’ with PRVDENTIA (Prudence) in the lower center, with ‘H. cock excu’ in the lower left. A lifetime impression from the only state of two by Philips Galle based on an original work by Pieter Bruegel featuring the inscribed text plate along the lower margin on watermarked paper dating the piece to c. 1559 – 1591 (Gothic P with Flower, Br. 8715 - 8723) .