Master of the Amsterdam cabinet: The Gotha Lovers (1480)


(Herzogliches Museum, Gotha, Germany)

A painting by an unknown Southern German artist with the notname 'Master of the Amsterdam cabinet' & 'Master of the Housebook' and is the oldest German large secular double portrait. Depicted are a man and a woman below two banners and the coat of arms of the county of Hanau. The identity of the couple is not known but it is assumed that it is Count Philipp I 'the younger' of Hanau-Münzenberg (1449-1500) with Margarete Weißkirchner (1460-1500). Margarete Weißkirchner was a commoner and therefore count Philipp could not marry her but the couple lived together and made public appearances. As a sign of love the man has a wreath of wild roses on his head while the woman holds a rose and a 'Schnürlein' (this piece comes from the Lutheran bible 4 Mose 15, 38). the text on the two banners is in German and are two lines which the couple is saying to each other - the woman starts, the man replies to her:

Woman: "Sye hat uch nyt gantz veracht Dye uch dsz Schnürlin hat gemacht" (= she who made this 'Schnürlein' loves you very much')

Man: "Un byllich het Sye esz gedan Want Ich han esz sye genissen lan" (= 'she did a good job and i will make her very happy)

In short this is a pledge of allegiance of the couple - the woman expresses her love to him with the man assuring her that he will take care of her well-being. Painting from around 1480.

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