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Plate One, from The Wise and Foolish Virgins, plate One

A work made of engraving and etching on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of engraving and etching on ivory laid paper.




Abraham Bosse
French, 1602-1676

About this artwork

This etching offers a modernized take on Christ’s parable of the ten wise and foolish virgins who awaited the arrival of a bridegroom to his wedding. Here the five wise virgins have saved the oil for their lamps, for which they will be rewarded by being invited to the wedding. Abraham Bosse reinforced the social value of such bourgeois domesticity through symbolic spatial construction. The ideally spiritual and literate young women discuss religious tomes but blend into the ornamental wall tapestries between bright, open windows. The foreground Bible, crucifix, and unlit oil lamps form the base of a hidden cross composed of the altar, mantel, and biblical paintings on the wall.


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Prints and Drawings


Abraham Bosse


Plate One, from The Wise and Foolish Virgins, plate One


France (Artist's nationality)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1635


Engraving and etching on ivory laid paper


Image: 25.8 × 32.2 cm (10 3/16 × 12 11/16 in.); Sheet: 33 × 43.2 cm (13 × 17 1/16 in.)

Credit Line

Mr. and Mrs. Potter Palmer Collection, Stickney Collection, and Print Sales Miscellaneous Fund

Reference Number


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