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Allegory of Arithmetic

1557
Frans Floris

Commissioned by the Flemish banker Nicolaas Bjongelinck from painter Frans Floris (1517–1570) of Antwerp, this canvas presents the activities of arithmetic as personified by the seated female figure on the right, whose intellectual attributes are indicated by two books on the ground. One bears the name of the prophet Abraham, regarded by the Roman historian of Jewish origin Flavius Josephus as responsible for the introduction of arithmetic and astronomy into Egypt. These branches of knowledge were then passed to the Greeks, as indicated by the name of Pythagoras on the other book. Finally, the Arab synthesis is indicated by the numbers painted on the edge of the tunic worn by Arithmetic herself. Bankers and merchants, the collectors through whose hands the painting passed, represent the circles in which the knowledge of mathematics was greatest.

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: APF

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: APF

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: APF

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: APF

Artist: Frans Floris
Title: Allegory of Arithmetic
Geography: Antwerp, Flanders
Date: 1557
Medium: oil on canvas
Classification: graphic arts (drawing, painting, engraving, calligraphy)
Dimensions: 121.5 x 224.5 cm
Inventory number: LAD 2009.028
Contact for images: [email protected]
Permalink: https://www.louvreabudhabi.ae/en/Explore/online-collection/allegory-of-arithmetic
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