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Godfried Schalcken: 'Allegory of Virtue and Riches'

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The bird represents virtue and true love (as do the embracing putti on the bas-relief), which the woman is attempting to outweigh with the piled-up jewels. She grieves, as does the sculpted cupid in the left background, because her virtue has been sacrificed for riches.

A painting which is dated 1676, and shows a woman releasing a bird from a box (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), may well have been painted as a companion to this picture.

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