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CAT 153 Bosse Herbst BA 196.jpg

CAT 153 Abraham Bosse. Herbst, from Les Quatre Saisons. Nuremberg: Paulus Fürst, c. 1637-40. Melville Memorial Room, Berkshire Athenaeum.

Bosse’s approach to Herbst (Autumn) is more vigorous. The central male figure with a plumed hat and an admiring young woman on either side of his erect sword presides over an orgy of action. The plates sliding off the table draw attention to the men fighting under the tree on the left, and the barking dog draws attention the boy who is bending a young sapling on the right, as the regularity of the trellis design enhances the wildly variegated action.

The original French verse for L’Automne points to “the spirit of misrule and of change” in this fractious scene (Duplessis, no. 1084), a sentiment that is conveyed in the German-language print by the phrase “Kein Wunder ist es mir, dass ich ietzt werde Toll” (It doesn’t surprise me that I’m going crazy). I am grateful to Nancy Jentsch for translating the German verses on these prints.