Master of Frankfurt: The artist with his wife (1496)

(Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium)

A self-portrait of the unknown Flemish artist with the notname 'Master of Frankfurt' (1460 – 1533) with his wife. The couple is shown sitting behind a desk with some bread, a plate with cherries and a vase with violets. The artist has his left arm around his wife while she is offering a violet (symbol of courtly love, courtship, spring, innocence and virtue) to her husband. The coat-of-arms at the top is that of the Saint Luke guild of Antwerp (the guild of artists). The motto beneath the coat-of-arms reads 'Wt ionsten versaemt' (united in friendship) which is the motto of 'the Violieren' (wallflower or gillyflower), the chamber of rhetoric of the Saint Luke guild of Antwerp. The painting also includes the ages of the couple: the artist is 36, his wife is 27 years old. The two flies on the painting (one on the table and another one on the head of the woman are intended as an optical illusion called  'Trompe-l'œil'. Painting from 1496.

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