The Burden of Life

Jacob de Backer

Photo: UMJ/N. Lackner

Jacob de Backer (c. 1540/50 – before 1600)

The Burden of Life

Oil on Wood

Inv. no. 846

Life is hardship


In the visual language of the Renaissance, man’s path through life is mainly shaped by hardship and becomes a formula in which heroic exaggeration replaces reality. At a youthful age man leaves the security of the parental home with a slight burden. As an adult, however, man buckles under the burden of life, Chronos, the personification of time, forces him down. Only hope with the anchor and patience with the lamb sustain him. Here, the end of life is redemption from earthly hardship. The old man is received by the embodiment of age, accompanied by winged death.

Alte Galerie, Schloss Eggenberg

Eggenberger Allee 90
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9560


Opening Hours

1 April to 30 October 2022
Tue-Sun, public holidays 10am-6pm 

1 November to 18 December 2022 only with guided tour by prior appointment

Opening Hours Library
Tues–Fri 10am–12pm and afternoons by appointment only


18th April 2022
6th June 2022
15th August 2022
1st November 2022 (

with guided tour

8th December 2022 (

with guided tour