This allegorical painting shows a young woman playing a lute, with the elderly male figure of Death behind her. Death holds a skull in one hand and a looking-glass in the other. A Latin phrase in the top right of the picture reads `MORS/ULTIMA/LINEA RERUM EST' ('Death is the thing which is last in line' - from Horace, 'Epistles' 1,16,79).
This painting shares close similarities with a very small group of works which include 'The Allegory of Man' and 'The Allegory of the Wise and Foolish Virgins' (in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Copenhagen). Among the artists associated with their production are Hans Eworth, Lucas de Heere and Joris Hoefnagel, but this painting cannot be ascribed with certainty to any of these.
Where to see this painting?
The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England, CV37 6QW
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.