pen and black ink, grey wash over black chalk on paper
Bequest of the Honorable James Bowdoin III
The languid and sensual Allegory of Peace epitomizes Mannerist elegance in the female form. From her idealized profile and ornately knotted hair to her tiny waist, swelling abdomen, ample thighs and dainty feet, she embodies the artificial beauty favored by Italian and Northern Mannerists. Sustris employs the convention of “wet drapery” in rendering her quasi-ancient Greek garment, which reveals her navel and breasts beneath the fabric. The personification stands erect, effortlessly holding the heavy torch with which she sets fire to the symbols of war at her feet: cuirass (body armor), helmet, sword, and banners. She holds a palm branch of peace in her left hand, pointing heavenward with one extended finger, indicating the source of peace on earth.