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Plate 3 from the series The Seven Virtues

Philips Galle, Flemish, 1537 - 1612. After a drawing of 1559 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Netherlandish (active Antwerp and Brussels), c. 1525 - 1569. Published by Hieronymus Cock, Netherlandish, c. 1510 - 1570.

Made in Haarlem, Netherlands, Europe
Published in Antwerp, Southern Netherlands (modern Belgium), Europe

c. 1559-1560


Sheet (cut within platemark): 8 7/8 × 11 7/16 inches (22.5 × 29.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Bequest of Frederic L. Ballard, 1953

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This engraving shows all seven acts of mercy in one large scene. Reading clockwise from top center: the dead are buried in a churchyard; strangers are welcomed at a doorway; the sick are visited in bed; the naked are clothed; the hungry are fed; the thirsty are given drink; and prisoners are visited in the stocks. In the center of the foreground stands the figure of Charity. The pelican on her head symbolizes self-sacrifice, as pelicans were believed to nourish their young with their own blood. God’s special love of Charity is indicated by the burning heart in her hand.