Among the most widely read books of the sixteenth century, the Adagiaby the Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1469-1536) is a collection of Greek and Latin proverbs. A first edition appeared in 1500, which the author continued to expand until the end of his life. The present drawing illustrates an expression, borrowed from Horatius and based on a story told by Suetonius, with the meaning that something that cannot be achieved quickly and violently should be done slowly (‘Caudae pilos equinae paulatim vellere’, included in Adagiorum chiliades tres, Venice, 1508, p. 93, no. 804).
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Old Master & British Drawings including property from The Cornelia Bessie Estate
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Various damages along the entire left side. At lower left a stain left by the glue of an old hinge which is still attached to the verso. Abrasions at lower right on the legs of the man pulling the horse hair. The drawing is hinged only at one (upper right) corner to an old piece of blue paper. Some minor losses at the lower right corner. The left margin of the sheet presents various stains and signs of heavy handling.
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