Collections › MESDA Collection › Hieroglyphicks of the Natural Man

Hieroglyphicks of the Natural Man

Artist/Maker:
Hagerty, John __Publisher ||Bakewell, J. __After ||Morton __Engraver
Place Made:
Baltimore Maryland United States of America
Date Made:
1791
Medium:
paper –ink
Dimensions:
Unframed: HOA 14″; WOA 10″
Framed: HOA 18 1/4″; WOA 14 1/4″
Accession Number:
4709
Description:
This print was issued by John Hagerty (1747-1823 a Methodist preacher who established himself as a Baltimore printer-publisher specializing in evangelical works. In 1791 he published a trio of prints: The Tree of Life, Hieroglyphicks of a Christian (a tree of virtues), and Hieroglyphicks of the Natural Man (a tree of vices). These prints are close copies of English prints of the same period published in London by Bowles & Carver after artwork by J. Bakewell. (See The Lewis Walpole Library at Yale 771.01/01/01/2+ and the British Museum 1935,0522.3.52)

The print illustrates the many ways man sins and the affects of that sin on man. Each sin is shown as a fig or an apple on a tree whose trunk is labeled “unbelief” and whose main branches are named “lust of the eye.” The tree is shown being watered by the devil. Death, depicted as a skeleton, is shown ready to cut down the tree. God’s wrath is depicted in the form of dark clouds and lightening striking the tree.

DESCRIPTION: Copperplate engraving on paper showing a leafless tree of vices on which are the fruits of unbelief; in the sky are clouds and a bolt of lightening; a snake is coiled in the tree at junction of branches; an angelic-like figure with wings and a bird fly away from the tree; a skeleton prepares to cut down the tree with an ax on one side while on the left a figure with a tail and wings waters it.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund