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The Fight over the Trousers

A work made of engraving printed in black on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of engraving printed in black on ivory laid paper.

Date:

c. 1495

Artist:

Israhel van Meckenem the Younger
German, c. 1440/45-1503

About this artwork

Here an enraged woman wielding a distaff as a weapon gains the upper hand over her husband. They are fighting over the trousers on the ground in front of them – that is, for control of the household. This scene is part of Israhel van Meckenem’s series of six prints of couples against a neutral background. It is the only one with a clear narrative and the only one in which the blank scrolls in the upper corners are replaced with imagery: the distaff, used to spin thread and emblematic of feminine pursuits, and a demon who encourages the fight. The pointed satire of domesticity in this print suggests that the other five images of couples may also be somewhat ironic.

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Prints and Drawings

Artist

Israhel van Meckenem, the younger

Title

The Fight over the Trousers

Origin

Germany

Date

1490–1503

Medium

Engraving printed in black on ivory laid paper

Dimensions

168 × 109 mm

Credit Line

Bequest of Mrs. Potter Palmer, Jr.

Reference Number

1956.850

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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