Taken from Bruegel’s series of “The World of Seven Virtues,” Fortitude is represented here as a courageous angel, standing upon the neck of evil as she tethers the chain around his neck. Nothing seems to distract her, amidst the brewing and tumultuous scene of men in the background, conquering their evil vices. It is splendidly engraved, with fruitful detail and endless action.
Created c. 1560, Fortitude features the following inscription in the lower margin: ANIMVM VINCERE, IRACVNDIAM COHIBERE, CAETERAQ [VE] VITIA ET, AFFECTVS | COHIBERE, VERA FORTITVDO EST (To conquer one’s impulses, to restrain anger and the other vices and emotions: this is the true fortitude). The signature of Bruegel is inscribed in the lower right: ‘Bruegel Inuentor’ with FORTITVDO (Fortitude) in the lower center. 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).