Columbus Breaking the Egg.

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Columbus Breaking the Egg.
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William Hogarth

Columbus Breaking the Egg.

London, Jane Hogarth c. 1775

Copper engraving



An old fable, applied here to Columbus. As related by Girolamo Benzoni, after admiration for Columbus’s discoveries waned and success turned to envy, his enemies began to assert that anyone could of thought of his plan and carried it out. Columbus challenged his detractors to balance an egg upright on the table. All failed, so Columbus, smashing the base of the egg, thus managed to place it upright. The ‘Line of Beauty’ promoted in the Analysis, is here echoed in the the eels on a platter on the table. Paulson 194 II/II.