Sebald Beham: Dancing Peasants (1537)

(Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

A nice set by the German artist Hans Sebald Beham (1500-1550). Images of peasants who are feasting (often to excess) were very popular in the 16th century. This popular set is a good example of this: number 1 shows two musicians playing a flute and a bagpipe while the rest show dancing, drunken and sexual behavior. Note the last three engravings:

- engraving 10: a man is caught cheating by his wife ('FIN ICH DICH DO'- German for 'I find you there'. The cheating husband is holding a money purse, suggesting that the second woman is a prostitute. 
- Engraving 11: a couple is engaged in sexual behaviour. They are spotted by another woman who wants to join in ('ICH WIL AUCH MIT' - German for 'I want to join in')
- engraving 12: a man is shown vomiting amongst the pigs. The other man says 'DU MACHST ES GAR ZU GROB' - German for 'You are being far to boorish'

These engravings are very small (each is about 48 mm × 34 mm) and were produced for collectors or were pasted into books. Engravings from around 1537.

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