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Link to an image of this pageá Link to an image of this page á[B8r p31]

Molestia vana.

Pointless nuisance

MichaŰli Sophiano suo.[1]

Myrmecidem nemo potuit superare molesto
Invisoque opere, at commoda parva tulit.
Quadriiugos tenui currus forma, arteque finxit,
Quos alis tegeres parvula musca tuis.
Quique apis alarum minimo sub tegmine vela
Abdidit infandum, sed leve fecit opus.
Quid iuvat artifici tant¨m valuisse labore,
Ni prosint, oculos effugiantque tuos?

Nobody could beat Myrmecides at tedious and odious/inconspicuous* work, but it brought only small benefits. He craftily shaped four-horsed chariots in a tiny form, which you, little fly, could cover with your wings. And he hid a ship under the teeny cover of a bee’s wings - and unspeakable, but trivial piece of work he made. What does it help the artist to excell in this kind of work if it is of no use, if it even escapes your eyes?
*invisus is a witty ambiguity, meaning both ‘disliked’ and ‘unseen’.


1. áMichele Sofianos: Greek scholar living in Italy, published a translation of Aristotle’s De Anima, and a description of ancient Greece (d. 1565).

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Relating to the text:

  • (personifications of) 'Vanitas', the vanity of human life; FragilitÓ humana, FugacitÓ delle grandezze & della gloria mondana, Meditatione della morte, Opera vana, Piacere vano, Vana gloria, VanitÓ (Ripa) [11R5] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • historical person (with NAME) other representations to which the NAME of a historical person may be attached (with NAME of person) [61B2(SOPHIANUS, Michael)3] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • insects (with NAME) [25F711(BEE)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • insects (with NAME) [25F711(FLY)] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • male persons from classical history (with NAME) [98B(MYRMECIDES)] Search | Browse Iconclass

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