British School 16th century - An Allegory of Man, 1596 or after.
From the Tate Gallery, London:
Surviving British paintings on religious subjects from this period are extremely few. The early history of this panel-painting is unknown, but as the inscriptions on it are in English, it must have been made for British usage. Such a combination of images, labels and texts is more usually found in prints from this period, but no engraved prototype for this work has so far been found.
The painting is inscribed as follows: ‘O MAN THOW WRETCED CREA ¦ TVRE HOW MAIEST THOVE DEL ¦ ITE IN RICHES BEWTY STRENGTH ¦ OR OTHER WORDLY THINGE. RE ¦ MEMBRINGE THINE ENEMYES WHICH CONTINVALLY ¦ SEEKE THEE TO DESTROYE & BRINGE THEE TO NOTHING ¦ BVT SINE SHAME AND FYER EVERLASTINGE. THEREFORE ¦ FAST WATCH & PRAYE CONTINVALY WT FERVENT DESIER ¦ VNTO IESVS THE MIGHTIE CAPTAYNE WHO ONLY IS ¦ HABLE TO DEFEND THEE FROM THEIR FIERIE ASSAWLTS.’ in bottom cartouche; ‘COVETVSNES’ on the miser’s arrow, lower left; ‘GLOTONY’, ‘SLOWTH’ and ‘LECHERY’ on the lady’s three arrows, centre left; ‘GRATIA ME SVFICIT TIBIE, 2 COR[.] 12.’ on scroll by Christ, top; ‘BE SOBER THEREFORE & WATCH FOR ¦ THOW KNOWEST NEITHER THE DAY NOR ¦ THE HOWRE.’ on scroll, centre right, above Death the skeleton; ‘BEHIND THEE Y STEALE ¦ LIKE A THEIF THE TEM / PORAL LIFE TO DEVOWER’ on shield (oval target) of Death; ‘PRYDE’, ‘WRATH’ and ‘ENVYE’ on three arrows of devil, bottom right; ‘TEMPORANS’, ‘GOOD REISINES’, ‘CHASTITY’, ‘ALMES DEEDS’, ‘AND COMPASSION’, ‘MEEKENES’, ‘CHARITY’, ‘PACIENS’ on scroll encircling central figure of Man.