The Falconer and the Lady, from the series Scenes of Daily Life
Israhel van Meckenem (German, Meckenem ca. 1440/45–1503 Bocholt)
sheet: 6 1/2 x 4 1/4 in. (16.5 x 10.8 cm)
Purchase, Barbara and Howard Fox and Martha Feltenstein Gifts, and The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 2003
Not on view
This depiction of courtly love is the most refined within Israhel's series of engravings devoted to amorous relationships, from the chivalrous to the lascivious, among different classes. In fifteenth-century imagery the noble pastime of falconry was traditionally associated with love. Here a falcon perches on the gloved hand of an elegantly dressed suitor. As his beloved demurely gazes down, she throws a furtive glance in his direction. From her headdress a cloth unfurls, echoing the banderoles that flutter above the couple. Such airborne ribbons often displayed a dialogue between the figures: here they may have been left blank so that collectors might inscribe their own. Israhel a practicing goldsmith, was also one of the most prolific and innovative fifteen-century masters of the related art of engraving. While a large part of his oeuvre consists of copies after other printmakers, many of his later works, like the series Scenes of Daily Life, were unique and witty turns on traditional subjects.
Carmen C. Bambach, Elizabeth E. Barker, Colta Ives, Nadine Orenstein, Michiel C. Plomp, Perrin Stein "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2002-2003." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Vol. 61, no. 2, Autumn 2003, p. 16, ill.