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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.


c. 1495


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.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Israhel van Meckenem, the younger


The Fight over the Trousers




Engraving printed in black on ivory laid paper


168 × 109 mm

Credit Line

Bequest of Mrs. Potter Palmer, Jr.

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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