Philosophy Consoling Boethius and Fortune Turning the Wheel
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Attributed to the Coëtivy Master
French, Paris, about 1460 - 1470
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment
2 7/8 x 6 11/16 in.
MS. 42, LEAF 1V

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At the left, Philosophy, personified as a fashionably dressed young woman, visits Boethius, who had lost his exalted position as Roman envoy. She asks him why he is despondent, saying, "you are wrong if you think that Fortune has changed towards you. Change is her normal behavior." On the right, Fortune, a beautiful woman, spins her wheel, which represents the changes she brings about in men's lives. A king sits on top of the wheel, but a simple turn of the wheel can bring him down in station while it raises the fortunes of another. Philosophy demonstrates that Fortune rules the world and that the wise person ignores her ever-shifting ways, preferring eternal truths.