Friday, May 20, 2016

Love in the Garden + a few random Lovers - Master of the Housebook (active c1470-1500)



Master of the Housebook. 1465-1500 The Lovers; seated on a bench underneath an arch of foliage. A pot of blooming flowers shares the bench. 

The Master of the Housebook  is also known as:  Master of the Amsterdam Cabinet, Master of Hausbuch, Meister des Hausbuches. He was an engraver & painter whose work is found in the last quarter of the 15C, working in Southern Germany.  The Master if the Housebook is most renowned for his work as an engraver & is believed to be the 1st artist to use the drypoint, a printmaking technique.

 Master of the Housebook (active c1470-1500) Lover's Garden 1475-1485. Bildindex der Kunst und Architektur.  In the 15C, The Garden of Love is usually portrayed as an idyllic realm of courtly love - music, feasting, & games where women inspired dedicated service from their admirers. 


The Master of the Housebook's  91 prints are extremely rare, with sixty surviving in one impression (copy) only, & none in more than 5 - there are a total of 124 impressions, 80 in Amsterdam. It is thought that because his prints were made using only the shallow, scratched line of drypoint, probably on tin or a pewter-type alloy, only 10 to 20 impressions of each could be taken before the plate wore out. Many engravings by other artists are believed to be copies of missing works by this master. In particular, Israhel van Meckenem seems to have copied more than 30.


Master of the Housebook (active c1470-1500). Card Players in Garden.  Card & game playing were common pastimes in 15C gardens.

The Master of the Housebook work is very well drawn & lively, with the interest in detail typical of Early Netherlandish painting.  British art historian Arthur Mayger Hind (1880-1957) noted of his style that "he is an artist with a freedom of draughtsmanship quite remarkable at this epoch. If his manner of engraving has something of the irregularity of an amateur, his power of expression is vigorous & masterly."


Master of the Housebook (active c1470-1500) The lovers; the couple sits on a bank under an arch of winding foliage; the lady to the left holds a little dog. A pot with flowers sits to the left.

A high proportion depicts secular subjects, more than is typical with artists of the period. Along with his contemporary Martin Schongauer, the Housebook Master was the leading artist making old master prints in Germany in his period. Both Schongauer & the Housebook Master had a considerable influence on the prints of Albrecht Dürer. The Master suggests Netherlandish influence in the modelling of light & shade & in some of his figural types.


Master of the Housebook (active c1470-1500) 1480 Master of the Housebook Aristotle and Phyllis in a walled garden.


Master of the Housebook (active c1470-1500) Delilah cutting Sampson's Hair in Garden 1471

A few random lovers from The Master of the Housebook (active c1470-1500)


Master of the Housebook (active c1470-1500) Gotha Lovers. c. 1484.  Schlossmuseum. Freidenstein, Germany. A small number of paintings are also thought to be his work, notably the Pair of Lovers in Gotha.


Master of the Housebook (active c1470-1500) Standing Lovers from Behind1485 (LLcat122) Are they standing at the edge of a cliff?


Master of the Housebook (active c1470-1500) A Peasant Carrying His Wife in a Wheelbarrow.  Frankfurt c 1470-90.  Not in a garden, but a fine depiction of a 15C wheelbarrow.



1 comment:

  1. The quality of the art work is stunning.

    I know late 15th century people were fortunate if they could find ANY time and place to be with their lover. But the images show that there was no expectation of privacy; we can see other people eating next to, walking near or perving at the lovers. Furthermore there are animals jumping on them, flowers blooming, grass growing and perhaps insects hovering around.

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